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Full text of "Community Media Review, Vol. 27, No. 3, Autumn 2004"

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AUTUMN 2004 


Dirk Ko ni ng, Chair 
Oka n o Rapids Community Media Cf;ni b\ 
Bob Devine, Ant i oc i f CoiriiCE; Lauren- Glenn 
D avitian, CCTV; Betty Francis, M on icq mery 
College; Jeffrey E-tanseil., Maiden Access Tr!*; vision; 
John W. Higgins, Mr-rao College 
Margie Nicholson, Columbia College 


Margie Nicholson 


Tim Goodwin 


Anthony Riddle, Executive Director 
1 e 1 i c i a B n > vv n , Man j be rsh. i{ nO p& v. turns 
Margaret Wanca- Daniels, Advert isi) ig Sit les 


Thomas Bishop, Alan Bushong, Robert Devine, 
Steve Fo rtried e , Tony a ( i o nzalez , Dee D e e Ha j i e ek, 
Jennifer Harris, James Norwood,, Sharon King, Jan 
Levine, Mark Linde, Ruth Mills, Hye-jung Park, 
Steve Ranieri, Nancy Richard, Dehra Rogers, 
Suzanne St. John -Crane, Matt Schuster, 
Julie i in c Turner, Marion Ware, Mike Was senaar 

^1 Alliance 


Community Media Review [ISSN 1074-9004] is 
published quarterly by the Alliance for 
Community Media, Inc. Subscriptions $35 a : 
year. Please send subscriptions, memberships, 
address changes, advertising and editorial 
inquiries to the Alliance for Community Media, 
666 11th St, NW, Suite 740, Washington, DC 
20001-4542. Telephone 202.393,2(550 voice, 
202.393.2653 fax. Email: acm@allianeecni.6rg or 
visit the Alliance for Co mm unity Media website 

Requests for bulk orders considered in 
advance of publication. Contact the national 
office for rates and delivery 

Copyright ©2004 by the Alliance for Com- 
munity Media, Inc Prior written permission of 
the Alliance for Community 7 Media required for 
all reprints or usage. 

Produced through the studio of 


Upfront • pages 3-8 

Anthony Riddle, Tom Bishop, Board of Directors 

Cultural Diversity & Preservation* pages 9-40 

Introduction, Margie Nicholson, 9 /First Come, First Served: Who's 
Served?, Susan Fleischman, 11 1 Mogadishu to Minneapolis: Minnesota 
Somalis Find a Television Home at MTN, JohnAkre, 13 / Native Lens: 
Media Literacy, Critical Thinking & Digital 
Filmmaking for Youth, Annie Silverstein, 171 
MNN's Community Media Grants: Supporting 
the Cultural and Social Interests of Manhattan, 
Rick Jungers, 20 i Immigrants Find Help through CAN TV, Barbara 
Popovic and Raven Patterson, 22 1 San Lucas Workers Center Tackles 
Abuses, GregBoozeU, 23 1 LA Freewaves Festival 
Artworks Reveal Diverse Cultures and Common 
Struggles, 24 /Getting Out: 600,000 in the Next 12 
Months, George Stoney 25 / Multilingual Journalism 
at Lehman College, Jim Carney, 26 / Community Projects Alter Latin 
America's Media Map, Dean Graber, 28 /Columbian Indigenous Peoples 
Decide What to Do with Modern Media, Jeanine El Gaz and Clemencia 
Rodriguez, 30 1 Groupo Alavio: the Video Camera as Another Weapon, 
Marie Trigona, 31 / Brazilian Community Radio Under Siege: 

Government Shuts Thousands of Stations, Stefania 
Milan, 33 / Community Media Center Goes Overseas, 
Robert). Heys, 35 / Making a Home in Australia: 
Migrant Voices in Training at SCR, Saba El-Guhl, 37 i 
Public Access and the Preservation of Deaf Culture: An 
Open and Closed Case?, Mary Brady 38 1 Media Literacy & Health 
CD-ROM in Spanish Breaks New Ground, Damon Scott, 40 

Voices from the Field* pages 41-51 

Julio Wainer, Yves St, Pierre, Geetmala TV, Robert Hamilton, Caroline 
Antone, Ha-Hoa Dang, Noboru Taketa, Bern Nagase, Veronica Robles, 
Naimah Latif, Brotha Clint, Chantal Matthews, Tim Rooney and Lury 
Sato, Latino Youth Peer Leadership Program, Luz Paola Perez Acosta 
and D'Landry Galiza Ramirez, and Dominique Jean Baptiste. 

As the journal of the Alliance for Community Media, Community Media Review shall support the 
Alliance mission by providing: a comprehensive overview of past, present and future issues critical 
to the Alliance and its membership; vigorous and thoughtful debate on those issues; and a venue 
for members and like-minded groups to present issues critical to the Alliance. 



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Looking Forward 


liven among old friends, the first words 
Uof a conversation can sometimes be the 
most difficult to choose. It is hard to know 
the direction the conversation will take 
before that reunion takes place. 

But when the time comes, it is as 
though no time has passed at all, as 
though the sentence has but paused to 
allow the speaker to catch her breath— 
and then continued forward to complete 
the original thought. 

As I join you now in this Alliance as 
executive director, I jump into the middle 
of a fast-paced conversation among peo- 
ple who know each other well. I have to 
say it is very exciting to see how far the 
work of the Alliance has come even as I 
note how much work we have yet to 

In looking forward, it is first necessary 
to recognize the past. I want to acknowl- 
edge the hard work and dedication of the 
previous executive director, Bunnie 
Riedel. The Alliance can be a tempestuous 
and wild sea, one that is difficult to navi- 
gate given limited resources and unlimit- 
ed idealism. Bunnie was committed to the 
Alliance. She fought the battles for us as 
she saw them, directed us along a course 
she hoped would strengthen our organi- 
zation and our cause, and put in a great 
deal of time and personal energy to see us 
through. Bunnie Riedel served as execu- 
tive director of the Alliance for 
Community Media for over six years, 
longer than any other executive director 
in our history This represents something 
of a life commitment to us that should be 

Looking forward, we are confronted 
with a field in the throes of regulatory and 
technical change so rapid that is almost 
impossible to comprehend— almost 
impossible because we have all predicted 
it for years. Corporate media has consoli- 
dated to a critical and dangerous level. 
Content is jumping from cable to broad- 
band to wireless. Systems are integrating 
with each other in ways which make them 
hard to name and harder to regulate for 

the public good. This technical Utopia we 
were so pleased to trumpet a decade ago 
threatens to become a corporate dystopia 
in which the commercial voice is free 
while the public discourse is silenced. 

Looking forward, we stand before a 
public which now knows what PEG 
Access is. This is because of your grass- 
roots work. You have taught a generation 
how to use the tools and why. When we 
look forward, we see a second generation 
of electronic media activists springing up 
all around. The independent media 
movements in the United States are an 
offspring to our movement. In the new 
generation social and political activists 
are technically adept and working at the 
cutting edge. Organizations of all stripes 
are recognizing that they cannot serve 
their constituents without supporting the 
existence of community media. 

This movement of ours extends 
throughout the world and takes many 
forms. It is a movement that needs the 
leadership of the Alliance for Community 
Media. It is a movement in which we 
must support and learn from the success- 
es of others. 

Looking forward, we must open this 
organization up to representing the 
broader community media movement — 
beyond our unflagging support for PEG 
franchise requirements. We should offer 
our support to our natural allies even as 
we receive their support in the years to 

We must be intense in our efforts to 
mobilize our communities. We must pre- 
pare again to show our strength when it 
comes time to rewrite the telecommuni- 
cations acts. We did it in 1994 and 1996 
and we had great success. 

If we look forward and show we are 
willing to do the work, we will see that 
there is no limit to what we can accom- 
plish together. 

Anthony Riddle [raiseeveryvoice@yahooxom] 
is the new executive director of the Alliance 
for Community Media. 

This movement 
of ours extends 
throughout the 
world and takes 
many forms. It is 
a movement that 
needs the leadership 
of the Alliance for 
Community Media. 
It is a movement 
in which we must 
support and learn 
from the successes 
of others. 



Tom Bishop Chair 

Media Bridges Cincinnati 

1100 Race St. 

Cincinnati, OH 45202 

Voice: 513.651.4171 / Fax: 513.651.1106 


Dmm Rogers Vice Gmm 

Northeast Representative, 
Conference Planning Chair 

Falmouth Community Television 

310 Dillingham Ave. 

Falmouth, MA 02540 

Voice: 508.457.0800 / Fax: 508.457.1604 


Nancy Richard T keasurer 

Plymouth Area Community Access Television 

130 Court Street Rear 

Plymouth, MA 02360 

Voice: 508.830,6999 / Fax 508.830.9666 


Ruth Mills Secretary/Fundraising Chair 

Whitewater Community Television 

do Indiana University East 

2325 Chester Blvd. 

Richmond, IN 47374 

Voice: 765.973.8488 / Fax: 765.973.8489 



Matt Schuster Central states 


Metro TV- Louisville Metro Government 
527 W. Jefferson St. 6* Floor 
Louisville, KY 40202 
Voice: 502.574.1904 / Fax: 502.574.8777 

Marion Ware Mid-Atlantic Chair 

CCTV / Community Media Center 
300 S. Center St. #111 
Westminister, MD 21157 
Voice: 410.386.4415 / Fax: 410.875.2358 

MikeWassenaar Midwest Representative 


214 East 4 ,h St, Ste. 200 
St Paul, MN 55101 

Voice: 651.298.8900 / Fax: 651.298.8414 

Julienne Turner Northwest Chair 


PC) Box 13388 
Salem, OR 97309 

Voice: 503.588.2288 / Fax: 503.588.6424 

Sharon King Southwest Chair 

Dallas Community Television 
1253 Roundtable 
Dallas, TX 75247 

Voice: 214.631.5571 / Fax: 214.637.5342 

Steve Ra n i eri Western Representative 
International Chair 

Quote... Unquote, Inc. 

POBox 26206 

Albuquerque, NM 87125 

Voice: 505.243.0027 / Fax 505.346.1635 


Robert Devtne 

Professor of Communication 

Antioch College 

317 W. North College 

Yellow Springs, OH 45387 

Voice: 937.767.7035 / Fax: 937.767.6470 


Steven Fortriede 

Allen County Public Library 

200 E. Berry St. 

Fort Wayne, IN 46802 

Voice: 260.421.1205 / Fax: 260.421.1386 


DeeDee Halleck 

Viewing Habits 
PO Box 89 

Willow, NY 12495-0050 
Voice: 212.473.8933 

Mark Linde 

Brockton Community Access 

PO Box 1057 

Brockton, MA 02303 

Voice: 508.580.2228 / Fax: 508.580.0750 


IIye-Jung Park 

Manhattan Neighborhood Network 
537 West 59 th St. 
New York, NY 10019 

Voice: 212.757.2670 x328 / Fax: 212 J57.1603 
Email: hyej ung@mnn. org 

Jan Levine 

Multnomah Community Television 

26000 S.E. Stark St. 

Gresham, OR 97030 

Voice: 503.491.7636 / Fax: 503.491.7417 


Suzanne St. John- Crane 

Community Media Access Partnership 

Gavilian College 

5055 Santa Teresa Blvd. 

Gilroy, CA 95020 

Voice: 408.846.4983 x6 / Fax: 408.846.4910 

Alan Bushong Board Development/ 

^ , Personnel 

Capital Community Television 

PO Box 2342 

Salem, OR 97308-2342 

Voice: 503.588.2288 / Fax: 503.588.6424 


Jennifer Harris Equal Opportunity Chair 

5325 Westbard Ave. / Apt. 313 
Bethesda, MD 20816 
Voice: 202.885.6387 

James Horwood Legal Affairs Appointee 

Spiegel & McDiarmid 

1333 New Hampshire Ave. NW 

Washington, DC 20036 

Voice: 202.879.4002 / Fax: 202.393.2866 


Tonya Gonzalez 


901 Newton St. NE 

Washington, DC 2001 7 

Voice: 202.526.7007 x!057 Fax: 202.526.6646 



Ron Cooper, Western Region Chair 

Voice: 916.456.8600 

Jeff Hansell, Northeast Region Chair 
Voice: 781.321.6400 


The Access Forum list is open to anyone 
interested in community access. 
To sign- up, send a message to: 
access-forun i-suhscrihefidists. alliancecm. org. 

The Alliance Announce list is open only to 
members of the Alliance for Community Media, 
Members should send a request to: alliance- 
anno unce-subscribe@ lists.atliancecm. org. 

To subscribe to the Alliances' 
Equal Opportunity list, send an email to 
After subscribing you may write messages to; 
aUiance-eo@lists.alliancecm. o rg 


Federal Communications Commission 

The Portals 
445 12th St. SW, Washington, DC 20024 
202.418.0200 voice / 202.418.2812 fax 

Your Federal Legislators 

The Honorable 

United States Senate, Washington, DC 20515 

United States House of Representatives 
Washington, DC 2051 
or call 
on the web at 



Challenging Our Assumptions 


Ilove experiences that challenge our 
.assumptions. They give us a chance to 
shed personal limits and cross self- 
imposed boundaries, and usually, at least 
in my case, give us a chance to chuckle at 
our own preconceived notions. 

I had just such an experience recently 
while in Washington, DC for the Alliance 
National Board meeting in December. 

I had set out to get a quick lunch as 1 
had some work to do over the break and 
needed something good to go. There was 
an Asian restaurant just down the street so 
I stopped in for chicken- fried rice. 

There were two young women of Asian 
heritage standing at the kiosk where you 
placed your order for take- out. One was 
talking on the phone in what I now know 
to be Korean, and the other was standing 
somewhat absent-mindedly to one side. 

I waited patiently for the first to finish, 
as the second didn't ask for my order. 
Before she took my order she turned to 
the second and said in heavily accented 
English to the second, "sorry about the 
phone. May I take your order?" 

Assumption #1:1 had assumed that 
the second young woman worked in the 
restaurant because of where she was 
standing. It turns out she, like I, was a 

The second young woman, in an 
accent that a college professor friend of 
mine would describe as "your Bronx is 
showing" surprised me by placing her 
lunch order in a strong New York borough 

Assumption #2: Based on assumption 
#1> that young woman #2 worked in the 
restaurant, and since young woman #1, 
who worked at the restaurant spoke with a 
Korean accent, then young woman #2 
must also speak with a Korean accent, or 
at the very least your standard mid-west- 
ern one. 

At this point I chuckled out loud at my 
own foolishness, which caused young 
woman #2 to look at me inquiringly. I told 
her, somewhat embarrassi ngly of my silli- 
ness and she responded good-naturedly 

There Is a gestalt when an idea crosses an artificial barrier 
created by differences in culture. New energy is added to already 
rich societies, reinvigorating and challenging our preconceptions 
of who we are and what we want to be. 

with the time-tested reply, "well you know 
what they say about assuming. It makes 
an ass out of both u and me." 

I replied, "nope. Just me!" 

I asked both of them where they were 
from; Seoul, South Korea and the Bronx, 
NY, respectively, and what brought them 
to DC. The young woman from Seoul was 
a graduate student at Georgetown. The 
New Yorker a graduate student at 
American University. 

They had something in common all 
right, but not what I had assumed. 
Assumptions are a dangerous thing in our 
diverse world. 

It reminded me of The Four 

For those who don't know about The 
Four Agreements, it's a book by Miguel 
Ruiz based on Toltec teachings and wis- 
dom with the basic concept that our per- 
ception of the world is based on agree- 
ments we make with ourselves. Change 
your agreements and you change your 
perception. The late Brian Wilson, then 
chair of the Alliance, presented this as 
one of the cornerstones in his life and it 
rubbed off on some of us. 

Ruiz suggests four basic agreements 
that can help you change yourself and 
your outlook on life. Among them is "don't 
make assumptions." You should, "find the 
courage to ask questions and to express 
what you really want. Communicate with 
others as clearly as you can to avoid mis- 
understandings, sadness and drama." 

Think of the power and lesson in that. 
Just by asking instead of assuming what 
someone else, means, thinks, desires or 
believes, you will understand so much 
more about our diverse world. You will 
reduce the tension that can come from 
miscommunication based on assump- 
tions and you will expand your own 

knowledge of the world, learning more 
about others, where they are coming 
from, who they are and what they desire. 

You might also glean a bit of knowl- 
edge that you can make use of in your 
own life, I'm a white-Appalachian guy 
from a small paper-mill town in Ohio. I'm 
pretty sure that Toltec wisdom is not the 
first thing that people think when they see 
me on the street. 1 wouldn't have thought 
the same thing of Brian, but by asking 
questions and through some great con- 
versations 1 learned something that has 
helped me in my life. 

This is one reason why the preserva- 
tion of our diverse human culture is such 
an important aspect of what we do in 
community media. These aspects of histo- 
ry and society have an intrinsic value all 
their own, but more so, they have value 
for the lessons they teach us that can be 
shared across cultures. 

There is a gestalt when an idea crosses 
an artificial barrier created by differences 
in culture. New energy is added to already 
rich societies, reinvigorating and chal- 
lenging our preconceptions of who we are 
and what we want to be. 

Challenging our assumptions. 
And it's really so easy to do. Don't 
assume... ask. Ask the easy, inquisitive 
questions about someone's life and back- 
ground to know more about where they 
are coming from. Also, ask the hard ques- 
tions, when there are differences and ten- 
sion, to make sure that you understand 
why, and if, you really differ. 

You'll expand your knowledge and 
hopefully your understanding of our 

Tom Bishop [] is 
executive director of Media Bridges in 
Cincinnati and chair of the National Board of 
the Alliance for Community Media- 


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is issue of Community Media Review, with its theme of Cultural 
Preservation and Diversity, features stories about media centers that are 
serving diverse communities with outreach, technology, training, fund- 
ing, and programming, and profiles of community producers who are creating 
media from a wide range of cultural, racial, ethnic, and other viewpoints. We live in 
a diverse society. Here in the United States 
it's estimated that people of color made 
up 28 percent of the nation's population 
in 2000 and will total 38 percent in 2025 
and 47 percent in 2050. Yet that diversity is 
not reflected in the mass 

8, jit 

■ m 




V V 


media, where people of color 
and people of other cultures 
are underrepresented, stereo- 
typed, and rarely allowed to 
speak for themselves, Reading this issue 
reaffirms my belief in the importance of 
community media. As the concentration 
of ownership in the mass media contin- 
ues, community media's mission of 

providing open channels and encouraging diverse voices and 
viewpoints becomes even more critical. Through community media, people 
have the opportunity to preserve and celebrate their cultures, and to see and hear 
programming that may open their minds and hearts to a new appreciation of each 
other and our diverse society. 

— Margie Nicholson, Guest Editor-in-Chief 

Margie Nicholson [] is a faculty 
member in the Senior Seminar Program at Columbia 
College Chicago. She is a former board member and chair 
of the National Federation of Local Cable Programmers 
(now the Alliance for Community Media) and former vice 
president/chief operating officer of Chicago Access 
Corporation. She currently serves on the board of the 
international Leadership Association and is chair of the 
I LA's 2006 international leadership conference in Chicago. 


This issue's cover was designed 
by HeLyong (Nikkle) Li, a senior 
majoring in graphic design at 
Columbia College Chicago. A 
North Korean from Hokkaido, 
Japan, Nikkie can be reached at 


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First Come, 

First Served: Who's Served? 

One of the traditional cornerstones of the public access movement 
is the concept of first come, first served — that everyone is treated 
the same and has equal access to resources. But the idea, regard- 
less of its benign intent, is flawed at its core. 

by Susan Fleischmann 


One of the traditional cornerstones of 
the public access movement is the 
concept of first come, first served — 
that everyone is treated the same and has 
equal access to resources. But the idea, 
regardless of its benign intent, is flawed at 
its core. Not everyone has equal access, 
due to barriers of race, class, language, 
and sense of self in the greater society, 
among other reasons. 

Most of us aren't even aware of the 
barriers in our organizations. Following 
are some suggestions for making your 
access center more open to the participa- 
tion of people from all backgrounds and 

A Dispense with time- consuming 
needs assessments and take a look 
around your access center and the com- 
munity you serve: Who is missing? Why? 
What can you do about it? 

A The leadership of your organization 
[staff and board of directors) must repre- 
sent your community This will go a long 
way in ensuring that your policies and 
procedures consider the needs of a 
diverse constituency— and it is a signal 
that you are serious about including and 
involving everyone. 

A Identify key leaders and organiza- 
tions that serve the constituencies that 
you want to reach. Talk to them about the 
needs of their communities and how your 
access center and your channels can 
address those needs. 

A If you are planning to do targeted 
outreach, do some homework to make 
sure that when people respond, you are 
prepared. Be willing to tailor your pro- 
grams to meet their needs. Think about 
how to deepen your connection to their 

A Make sure that from the moment 
that people walk through your door, they 
feel welcomed, valued, and respected. 

▲ Getting started is the hardest part. 
Small weil-planned pilot projects are very 
useful. This gives you a chance to see if 
what you intended worked or if you need 
to tweak your program design to better 
meet the need of your targeted group. 
Once you have some success, others will 
be more likely to see your center as a 

resource and a place where they are wel- 

A Finally, use every means at your 
disposal to deepen the connection: dis- 
tribute participants' work, include folks in 
the advisory/ decision -making process of 
your organization, highlight their involve- 
ment in your newsletter or other public 
events, and, most importantly, shepherd 
these newbies through the complex world 
of making media at your facility encour- 
aging them to try new ways to get their 
message out. 

Here are some outreach programs for 
seniors, youth, immigrants, and other 
low-income communities that started 
small and have become part of the ongo- 
ing training program at Cambrdige 
Community Television (CCTV) in 

A Computers for Seniors was created 
to meet the need for a technology pro- 
gram for Cambridge's elders — flexible, 
paced for each individual, and meaning- 
ful. Computers for Seniors has been 
meeting every Monday morning, without 
fail, since 1999. 

"At CCTV. . .1 made a movie about my 
experience. ..It was quite a challenge and 
accomplishment," says Marie Caso, 
Computers for Seniors participant. 

"Since I still have more to say, as do 
many of my peers, nothing would please 
me more than to repeat the experience 
and share it with future generations." 
Marie's story may be found at 
www. ectveambridge. o rg/ stream/ 
under Member Videos. 

A The Many Voices Project was creat- 
ed to help Cambridge's immigrant com- 
munities and specifically targets speakers 
of Haitian Kreyol, Spanish, and 
Portuguese. The program offers ongoing 
sessions that meet three hours weekly 
providing students intensive technology 
and media- making training, practice 
time, and one -on- one help with specific 

questions in a multi-lingual environment. 

"When I first moved to this country I 
worked long hours... and I didn't have time 
to invest in improving myself with new 
skills.. .Fortunately, I have found that there 
are people who will help me in my jour- 
ney I have to accept the reality that I can 
no longer work in the way I used to do 
when I was young, but my mind is still 
strong and I am sure that I will be success- 
ful someday with my new computer skills. 
I now have new possibilities for my future 
that I never dreamed of before.. .," says 
Fedor Hernandez, Many Voices Project 
participant. Fedor 's story, in English and 
Spanish, may be found under Member 
Videos at www. ectveambridge .org! stream! 

A The Summer Media Institute (SMI), 
an annual project sponsored by CCTV for 
high school students, is held in collabora- 
tion with the Mayor's Summer Youth 
Employment Program. Each year, 12 high 
school students participate in an inten- 
sive program designed to develop video 
production skills while focusing on com- 
munity issues. Participants meet four 
hours a day for six weeks to become profi- 
cient in all aspects of media production 
and presentation. This past year's theme 
took advantage of the Democratic 
National Convention to raise awareness 
of participatory democracy, voting, and 
an informed electorate. 

"It's really not the way people think it 
is... there is really nothing to be afraid of," 
explained SMI participant Max Barnes. 
His story is under You th Member Video at 

Other profiles appear on page 51 of 
I this issue of CMR. 

Susan Fleischmann [susan ©ectveambridge 
.org], is executive director of Cambridge 
Community Television. Ginny Berkowitz 
[] , former director of 
outreach and development at CCTV, is now 
program manager for Cambridge Educational 




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Mogadishu to Minneapolis: Minnesota 
Somalis Find a Television Home at MTN the city of 
Minneapolis, on any 
night you will hear 
Somali voices and see the 
faces of Somalis reporting 
about their community, 
performing Somali music, 
and passing on religious 
Instruction, something 
vitally important to the 
deeply religious Somali 

by John Akre 

Minnesota, and specifically the Twin 
Cities metropolitan area, is home to 
one of the largest settlements of 
Somali people outside of Somalia. You 
would never know this if broadcast televi- 
sion was your only window into the com- 
munity, for you rarely see Somali culture 
represented there. Programming in the 
Somali language is completely absent 
from local commercial television. 

But on cable TV, particularly in the 
city of Minneapolis, on any night you will 
hear Somali voices and see the faces of 
Somalis reporting about their community, 
performing Somali music, and passing on 
religious instruction, something vitally 
important to the deeply religious Somali 
community. The Minneapolis Television 
Network (MTN), which provides public 
access TV for the city of Minneapolis, pro- 
grams eight hours of Somali language 
programs each week. Together, programs 
on the African immigrant and Muslim 
experience represent over five percent of 
the programming on MTN's three public 
access channels. 

Abdulkadir Osman fled Somalia in 
1993 to escape the civil war. Now he lives 
far from Somalia, in Columbia Heights, a 
suburb just over the border of northeast 
Minneapolis. When he leaves his house in 
the morning to go to work, his eight chil- 
dren are still all sleeping. Getting to his 
job at the St Paul Elementary School 
where he works as a bilingual educator 
means taking off at 6:00 am. When he gets 
back home from his second job, teaching 
adult high school at the Volunteers of 
.America in Minneapolis, it is nearly 11 
p.m., and his youngest children are 
already in bed. 

Holding down two jobs is not unusual 
for members of the Twin Cities Somali 
com m unit y. Bu t wh a I Osman does 
between his jobs, from noon to 5:00 p.m. 
almost every weekday is unique. He 
spends that time working on the two one- 
hour Somali TV shows that he produces 
as a volunteer every week. 

In 1997 he w r as working at the 
Hennepin County Medical Center as an 
interpreter and cultural consultant. While 

there he helped members of the Twin 
Cities Somali community navigate the 
health care system, but he was only able 
to work with about four people a day 
That was just a drop in the bucket for a 
local Somali community that official esti- 
mates put at over 20,000 members. 
According to Osman, the real number of 
local Somalis is more than twice that 

Because of his background in teach- 
ing, Osman knew how important it was 
I or new immigrants to have some kind of 
"bridge" to help them adapt to their new 
home. Through his work at Hennepin 
County he knew that one -on- one instruc- 
tion could never address his community's 
many growing needs. 

It was when he was visiting a friend's 
house that he saw a peculiar gray box that 
had "MTN" stenciled on it. Inside the box 
was some kind of video camera. Osman 
asked his friend where the box was from, 
and that is how he discovered public 
access television. When he visited the stu- 
dios of MTN a few days later, he knew 
that he had discovered a way he could 
help thousands of people bridge the cul- 
tural gap. 

Almost as soon as he finished his first 
class at MTN, Osman was producing a 
weekly show called Somali TV For the 
first year, he made the shows working 
alone. In his second year he star Led build- 
ing a crew of local Somali residents who 

liked what they saw and wanted to help. 
One of those early crewmembers, Abdi 
Ahdiaar, went on to make another show, 
Somali Life. 

"One hour wasn't enough for our com- 
munity" Abdi explains. Not long after 
Abdi started producing Somali Life, 
Osman began producing a second hour of 
Somali TV every week. Osman works with 
a strong volunteer crew now, and that 
makes the work easier, though all mem- 
bers of the crew work hard. Siad Said 
Salah is a regular at many Somali events 
recording field video, while Mohamed 
Shi no and Mohamud Mas'ade sh are the 
job of anchoring and writing the news 

Adbi works a graphic design job, stud- 
ies journalism and helps raise his two 
children when he isn't working on Somali 
Life. He says that his show, with its come- 
dy and music segments, appeals to a 
younger audience than Somali TV. Somali 
TV also includes music, but balances the 
entertainment with Somali community 
news and religious instruction. 

A regular feature of Somali Life is the 
comedy of Padri. Abdi calls Padri "the 
Somali Chris Rock," and Padri explains 
that he joined the show when he told 
Abdi that a comedian featured on Somali 

wasn't very funny, and he could do 
better. Padri fashions his jokes and stories 
on the challenges that Somalis have cop- 
ing with U.S. and Minnesota culture. 


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The volunteers who pro- 
duce the shows at MTN are 
local celebrities in the Somali 
community. Abdi explains, "I 
don't know a lot of people 
myself, but anywhere I go 
where there are other 
Soman's, they know me." He 
says that his 80-year-old 
mother knows very few 
English words, but she does 
know "MTN," and she knows 
exactly where to turn her dial 
to find the Somali program- 

Osman says that callers to 
the Somali TV voice mail 
often find that they can't 
leave comments because the 
mailbox is full. "The commu- 
nity relies on us and expects the pro- 
grams to keep coming," he explains. He 
gets complaints if he re-runs a program, 
so he always has pressure to keep things 

The importance of the Somali com- 
munity programs both for the local 
Somali community and also Minneapolis 
was recognized earlier this year when the 
City Pages, an alternative newspaper, 
named Somali TV the "Best Public Access 
Cable TV Program" in its "Best of the Twin 
Cities" issue. In the article about the 
honor, the City Pages said, "For some, 
public access is an early, 
inspiring lesson in democracy 
and free media." 

Some of the programs are 
made with the assistance of 
Somali mutual assistance 
organizations, Osman pro- 
duces Somali TV with the 
assistance of the 
Confederation of Somali 
Community in Minnesota, an 
organization that provides 
social services like language 
classes and employment 
counseling, The Somali Mai 
Community of Minnesota is 
an organization that produces a weekly 
show in the Somali Mai language. The 
Somali Bantu people, who speak this lan- 
guage, represent some of the most recent 
immigration to Minnesota. 

Both Abdi and Osman say that the 
single most important reason that they do 
their work at MTN, and not at another 
access center, is the MTN staff. They both 
claim that the MTN staff is particularly 

Somali TV producers [left to right] Abdulkadir Osman and Siad 
Said Salah. 

language and background oV new immi- 
grant producers is something that MTN 
has attempted to build into its staff." 
Bagdadi regularly informs the non- 
Islamic members of the staff about 
upcoming Islamic holidays, like 
Ramadan, and traditions, like the impor- 
tance of prayer and the need Islamic pro- 
ducers may have for a place and time to 
pray. Bagdadi also helps staff understand 

J,C, Bagdadi (feft) accepts an award of appreciation on behalf of MTN from members 
of the Confederation of Somali Community. 

understanding of the needs of immigrant 
producers, and goes out of its way to wel- 
come them. 

In fact, two members of the MTN staff 
who originally helped the Somali produc- 
ers get started are also from Islamic coun- 
tries. J.C. Bagdadi, senior production 
manager at MTN, left Libya when he was 
a young man. Mustafa Tell, who taught 
Osman's first studio production class, is 
from Jordan, where he now once again 
lives and works. 

MTN Executive Director Pam Colby 
says, "Sensitivity to the cultural traditions, 

some of the content of the 
Somali programs which, after 
all, are in the Somali lan- 

"MTN has a wonderful 
staff ready to help you, any 
minute, any second, whether 
you are alone or with a 
group," Osman says. 

Bagdadi calls Saturdays at 
MTN "Mogadishu Day" after 
the capital city of Somalia, 
On Saturday afternoons, 
MTN's two studios are often 
both filled with Somali pro- 
duction activity. A Somali 
singer, maybe from the local 
area, sometimes from 
Somalia, might perform in 
front of a blue screen scene 
from Somali. One of the local Somali 
anchors, looking as official as any com- 
mercial TV personality, might be reading 
a Somali language recap of local news. A 
religious leader might be giving advice 
and instruction in front of a blue screen 
temple. And the Somali crews, giving 
instructions in the Somali language, set 
up the lighting, camera shots and effects, 
and direct the shows. 

Producers representing a number of 
different Somali programs collaborated 
recently on a special Ramadan call-in 
show. Bagdadi helped bring the Somali 
producers together for this two-hour live 
extravaganza, and Osman, recognized as 
the senior member of the local Somali tel- 
evision community, directed the show 
Liban Hussein, on the crew of the Somali 
Mai Community program, developed the 
content of the show together with Abdi 
and Somali TVs Mohamed Shino. 
Although they may be from clans fighting 
against each other in Somalia's civil war, 
they were able to joke and work together 
under the pressure and excitement of 
putting together a live TV show at MTN. 

"To do these shows would cost us 
thousands of dollars, but here we make 
them for no money, for our community/' 
Osman says. 

Author John Akre Ijakre@mtn.orgJ is a pro- 
duction specialist and instructor at the 
Minneapolis Television Network. 


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Native Lens: Media Literacy, Critical 
Thinking and Digital Filmmaking for Youth 

by Annie Silverstein 

% The past hundred years of filmmaking 
have virtually ignored the true identity of 
Native people. Many damaging stereo- 
types have grown from Hollywood's 
image of the American Indian and left 
tribes without a voice. It is time jbr those 
voices to be heard. 3 

— Ben-Alkx Dupris, Seattle Native 
filmmaker and Native Lens guest artist 

There are shouts and cheers as the 
lights go down in the little theater, 
and then a silence falls over the 
young audience in eager anticipation of 
what they are about to see. For the first 
time, 30 youth from the Swinomish tribe 
are going to watch stories on the big 
screen that only they can tell The sound 
of traditional drumming and singing by 
the group Eagleheart fades in through the 
speakers, and suddenly images of Native 
youth taking cameras into their own 
hands fill the screen. 

In May 2004, The Young Producers 
Project at 911 Media Arts Center in 
Washington state launched Native Lens, a 
series of programs that offer training in 
media literacy, critical thinking, and digi- 
tal filmmaking to Native youth. Seed 
money for Native Lens came from the 
prestigious 21st Century Literacy 
Initiative Grant awarded by the Time 
Warner Foundation in the summer of 
2003. For the last seven years the Young 
Producers Project has created youth 
media programs that target young people 
whose culture, race, or gender are under- 
represented in the media- making scene. 

Our nationally acclaimed program 
Reel Grrls mentors young women 
between the ages of 14 and 19 in media 
technology skills and digital storytelling. A 
major component of Reel Grrls is teaching 
participants how to watch movies and tel- 
evision with a critical eye, initiating an 
examination of representation and 
media's impact on society. Through our 
experiences in developing youth media 
programs wc have found that learning 
about media literacy and digital filmmak- 
ing as a form of self-expression is an 

extremely thought provoking and empow- 
ering experience for young people in 
underserved communities. 

The Native American community in 
the Pacific Northwest is particularly 
absent from the larger media-making 
scene, yet its cultural traditions are rich 
with stories, images, and activism. While 
the Young Producers Project has been 
successful in reaching diverse youth pop- 
ulations in the past, they have primarily 
been African American, Asian, and Latino. 
We realized that in order to engage tribal 
youth in our community we needed to 
develop a media program that was cultur- 
ally specific. 

In 2003 we were contacted by the 
Swinomish tribe, whose reservation is 
located an hour and a half north of 
Seattle in La Connor, Washington. The 
Swinomish, like many surrounding tribes, 
had received a technology grant designed 
to "wire the reservation." While they had 
a couple of cameras, an editing system, 
and even their own PEG channel, they 
had little training in how to use the tech- 
nology and their PEG channel was dark. 
After our preliminary discussions, when 
the Swinomish realized what was possi- 
ble in terms of content, the tribe 
expressed interest in building a cable sta- 
tion so they could broadcast their own 
programs on the reservation. Once we 
were awarded the funds to launch Native 
Lens, we decided to partner with the 
Swinomish to help them start up their 
station, offer youth media workshops, 
and develop a program model that we 
could then offer to other interested tribes. 

Youth from the Swinomish tribe were 
extremely excited to participate in the 
Native Lens program. While meeting in 
their Spiritual Center one night to discuss 
the upcoming program, we asked them to 
fill out a survey about what kinds of 
movies they like to watch and what 
movies they w^ould like to make when 
given the opportunity There was a 
resounding response, "if I could make a 
movie about anything it would be about 
Indians," said Sweetie Kdwards, 16. "I 


a letter from a parent of one 
of the Native Lens participants 

flongratulations, a job well done, 
I Please forward this to the team, I 
Uhave heard nothing but good news 
about the Native Lens Conference 
from the Swinomish People. 

I called from Canada and asked 
my wife how it went and only had 
limited time, so I asked her, between 
one and 10, how the conference went. 
She said "it was a 10." My son enjoyed 
it and gave it great reviews. Tribal 
Senate Member Barb James said it 
was phenomenal She explained that 
the kids who had broken relationships 
with each other resolved those con- 
flicts at the conference. I don't see 
much of Barb James because ot her 
busy schedule; however, she was the 
first person I saw Monday morning 
with the video, sharing what a great 
event it was. 

Kids' responses were the same. 
They were visiting my office, asking 

why I didn't go and telling me how 
much fun I had missed. Again I would 
have loved to have experienced it and I 
send my apologies. I am committed to 
this program and to helping the kids 
develop their skills and dreams. I thank 
you for your commitment. Thank you 
for planting a seed of hope and dreams 
for the Swinomish Youth. I look forward 
to sitting down with your team and 
reflecting and setting goals for the 
future so that we can build on the 
momentum that you and your team 
have started. Thank you again and as 
the Swinomish Culture has taught me: I 
raise my hands out in front of me and 
say "O-CiUM" (spelling wrong) but it 
means "Thank You." 
Frank Dunn 

would make a movie about my heritage 
and the life of Natives," said Amy 
Edwards, 16. "I would make a movie 
about the Swinomish tribe," said Alice 
Charles. "I would make a movie about 
break dancing and Natives," said Shauntia 
Cayou, 14. When asked what their favorite 
movie was, over half of the group 
answered Smoke Signals. Written by 
Sherman Alexie and directed by Chris 
Eyre, Smoke Signals was released in 1998 
and was one of the first Native- made 
films to break into the mainstream and 
attract a large Native and non-Native 

Smoke Signals is the story of two 
young men, Thomas and Victor, who 
leave their reservation to retrieve the 
ashes of Victor's father Arnold, who left 
his family 10 years earlier. The movie 
gives a humorous, sad, and loving por- 
trayal of "res life," one with which many of 
the young people from the Swinomish 
tribe identify. As one of the tribal leaders 
told me, "These kids could probably tell 
you every line from that movie." Given the 
absence of Native images in the media, 
the Swinomish youth were ready to step 
up and create their own representations. 

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shop in May, Swinomish participants 
bused from their reservation to Seattle 
to spend the weekend working with 
local Native filmmakers and special 
guest actors Cody Lightning (Smoke 
Signals), Eddie Spears (ABC's 
Dreamkeepers), and Elaine Miles 
(Northern Exposure). They explored 
images of American Indians in the 
media, and learned the technical and 
artistic skills needed to create their own 
narratives. Over the course of two days 
they shot and ediLed four shorts: Behind 
the Scenes of Native Lens, a short docu- 
mentary about the weekend events; Ko- 
Kwal-Awoot: The Maiden of Deception 
Pass, a traditional totem story told using 
stop -motion animation; a scene from 
the screenplay Nineteen, starring guest 
actors Cody and Eddie; and Native 
Pride: More Than What You Think r a PSA 
that challenges the stereotypes young 
American Indians face daily. 

What is so striking about the shorts 
the youth produced, is that not only did 
they tell their own stories, which we 
rarely hear, but in doing so they used 
media technology as a form of cultural 
preservation. So much of Native history 
and culture has been passed down from 
generation to generation through story- 
telling. Though these stones, languages, 
and customs have withstood massacres, 
dispossession of land, and hundreds of 
years of oppression, the struggle 
remains to keep them alive. Native Lens 
offers youth the technical skills they 
need to use media technology as a 21st 
century storytelling tool, one that can 
capture and preserve their languages, 
customs, history, and traditions. 

Digital storytelling also gives Native 
young people a way to express their 
youth culture and identity. This is won- 
derfully encapsulated in the Native 
Pride PSA that deals with stereotypes. 
Swinomish youth took turns facing the 
camera and making personal state- 
ments: "Since I'm Indian you probably 
think that I've already dropped out of 
school, but Eve kept my grades up and 
plan to go to the UW for college," states 
Amanda Hansen looking squarely into 
the camera. "You probably think I'm a 
druggie and an alcoholic just because 
I'm Native. You may think you know me, 
but nobody knows you but yourself, and 
sometimes you don't even know your- 
self. I plan to finish high school and go 
to college and do something with my 

life, Peace," says Nick Clark, The back- 
ground music mixes in and out between 
a traditional Native drumming group 
and a rap song by Jay-Z. The piece 
exemplifies the multiple layers of mean- 
ing the youth expressed through their 
video; they have pride in their heritage, 
they are tired of being stereotyped, but 
they also identify with a younger urban 
hip hop culture their elders are most 
likely disconnected from. Expressing an 
appreciation of their roots in the land- 
scape and style of the current times is 
what makes the short so poignant and 
moving to audiences. 

We are currently in the midst of our 
Native Lens Film Institute — a four- 
month program for 10 students that 
provides in-depth technology training, 
storytelling development, and one-on- 
one mentoring opportunities. Guided by 
Native filmmakers, students will turn 
their ideas into works of artistic distinc- 
tion, which will be screened on the 
reservation, at youth and other film fes- 
tivals, and archi ved as part of tribal his- 
tory. The youth who participate in this 
program will be integral to the develop- 
ment of ongoing, on-res programming, 
through peer- teaching and leadership. 
Our hope is to provide a comprehensive 
Native Lens curriculum and teacher's 
guide to the tribe at the conclusion of 
the four- month program so that the 
tribe is able to sustain youth media pro- 
duction at its owm facilities. 

The Native Lens program has had an 
impact throughout the tribal leadership 
of the Swinomish nation. The tribe has 
begun to allocate funding and staff to 
provide programming to their PEG 
channel, which has the capacity to 
cablecast on the reservation and in the 
greater La Conner Community. With 
guidance and technical expertise from 
Media Services and Technology 
Manager Corey Contreras, the tribe has 
developed a communications depart- 
ment that will incorporate video pro- 
duction and coverage of tribal events for 
broadcast on SWIN 96. But who will run 
the cameras and who will conduct the 
interviews? Native Lens youth partici- 
pants will have their first free lance jobs. 

Annie Silverstein [] is 
program director for Native Lens and other 
youth programs at 911 Media Arts Center 
in Seattle, Washington. 


Media Arts Center is Washington 
State's largest nonprofit organiza- 
tion supporting the creative use of 
media as both communication and artistic 
expression. Our mission is to provide 
access to and promote participation in the 
media arts and by doing so, provide the 
ideas and resources necessary to empower 
and educate people through that media. 

One of the clear realizations that our 
staff experienced as the result of working 
outside of our own mainstream culture was 
the need for more people of color on the 
ground working within community-based 
media. The Native Lens program requires 
working within a sovereign nation that 
shares painful history with America. One of 
the significant barriers to participation and 
external collaboration is an inherent mis- 
trust of outside influences. Add to that the 
fact that we asked to work with their chil- 
dren. It was important to us to build trust 
within the community in order to share our 
knowledge. In exchange, we have gained 
critical cultural awareness, which helps us 
shape the program to better meet the 
needs of the youth in meaningful ways. The 
development of the program with Native 
artists and mentors is critical to its eventual 

This scenario applies not only to work 
within tribal communities, but also in 
other communities of color. Too many 
times, organizations think, "if we build it, 
they will come." This notion is supported 
by foundations and other hinders whose 
outcome-based models of funding may not 
take into account the cultural competency 
and trust building necessary to launch and 
maintain a successful program within a 
particular "underserved" community. 
Additionally these communities need out- 
reach, which literally requires an organiza- 
tion to go out and reach. This could mean 
months of sitting in community meetings, 
prayer sessions, football games, sobriety 
meetings, and the like, to strengthen our 
cultural awareness with regard to method 
and approach. All this must happen long 
before a successful program can be 
designed. More importantly, the program 
must be designed not only with the com- 
munity in mind, but also at the table. 


MNN's Community Media Grants: Supporting 
the Cultural and Social Interests of Manhattan 

by Rick Jungers 

rTlhrough the Community Media Grant, 
I Manhattan Neighborhood Network 
X (MNN) works and partners with 
Manhattan nonprofit and grassroots 
organizations to use media to facilitate 
community dialog, foster loca! artistic and 
cultural expressions, provide local per- 
spectives in areas of the public interest, 
facilitate a more media literate communi- 
ty, and develop a community media infra- 

A major goal of the grant is to create 
internal capacity MNN is not interested 
in hiring 'video professionals' to create 
programming for an organization, but 
rather in developing capacity within fund- 
ed organizations so they can "speak for 
themselves." The grant is available to non- 
profit organizations based in and provid- 
ing services to the Borough of Manhattan. 
Since 1992 nearly $3 million have been 
allocated to approximately 70 Manhattan- 
based organizations. 


Members of Chinese Staff & Workers reviewing footage from 
Organizing for Justice Against Silver Palace. 

The grant places video instructors and 
mentors within an organization to train its 
staff and /or volunteers to utilize video to 
tell their own stories, from their own per- 
spectives. MNN also provides production 
and post-production equipment on site to 
facilitate production activity independent 
from the access center With the advent of 
digital video and computerized editing 
solutions like FinalCut Pro, it has become 
more economically feasible to foster this 
type of self-sufficiency 

The grants have allowed MNN to sup- 
port many organizations contributing to 


the cultural and social 
well-being of Manhattan. 
Here are just a few exam- 
ples of some of the organi- 
zations funded and the 
projects they have under- 

Chinese Stapf & Workers 

Chinese immigrants 
make up one of the fastest 
growing populations in 
Manhattan. Lured by 
images of wealth and 
opportunity, many immi- 
grants assume huge debts 
to come to New York, legally and illegally. 
Once here they are channeled into undoc- 
umented and unregulated work in the 
garment, restaurant and construction 
industries and are routinely forced to 
work 70 to 100 hours per week without 
benefits, overtime compensation or even 
minimum wage. 

: ounded in 1979, the Chinese 
Staff & Workers Association is one 
of the first community- based 
worker's organizations in the 
country. CSWA is dedicated to 
organizing immigrant workers to 
advance justice and dignity with- 
in the workplace, developing 
voices to challenge the sweatshop 
system, and promoting worker 
leadership and empowerment in 
the struggle for economic and 
social justice. 

CSWA, which started with 
mostly male restaurant workers, 
has expanded its membership of over 
1,300 to include garment and construc- 
tion workers, caregivers, disabled workers, 
retirees, youth, documented and undocu- 
mented workers. CSWA has developed an 
internal leadership composed primarily of 

In 1992 the Chinese Staff & Workers 
association was one of the first 10 organi- 
zations to receive a grant from MNN. 
Armed with S-VHS camcorders and a 
"portable" linear straight- cut edit system 
the project began training members to 
produce tapes addressing sweatshop con- 

Screen shot from Chinese Staff & Workers 
Against Silver Palace. 

"Organizing for Justice 

ditions, immigrant worker's rights and 
other community concerns. 

During a worker organizing campaign 
to secure withheld wages and health care 
benefits and to resolve other workplace 
problems, more than 30 workers were 
locked out of the Chinatown restaurant 
where they were employed. The video 
project produced a documentary covering 
the seven-month struggle of the workers. 
They covered the rallies and daily pickets 
outside the restaurant, interviewed work- 
ers and immigrant labor activists, and cri- 
tiqued the mainstream media coverage- 
Portions of the video were used to organ- 
ize other workers and galvanize support 
for their struggles. The project developed 
videos in English with Cantonese subtitles 
and versions in Cantonese wi th English 
subtitles. Ultimately the workers prevailed 
(only to suffer setbacks later) and the 
completed video, Organizing for Justice 
Against Silver Palace, won a Hometown 
Video Festival award for best documen- 
tary in 1994. 

CSWA has produced many documen- 
taries on Chinese immigrant life and 
worker struggles, produced the bi-weekly 
CSWA News and started a youth video 
program. While they no longer receive 
funding from MNN they continue to use 
video as an integral component of their 
organizing activities. 

Housing Works 

Housing Works is a minority-con- 
trolled, community-based, nonprofit cor- 
poration providing housing, healthcare, 
advocacy, job training, and vital support- 

ive services to New Yorkers living with HIV 
and AIDS who are homeless or at risk of 
homelessness. As part of the creative arts 
therapy program at its East 9th Street 
location, Housing Works has launched the 
Video Project, an innovative therapeutic 
and skills development program. The 
Video Project offers instructional work- 
shops where Housing Works' clients are 
trained to conceive, write and produce 
original videos. The Video Project con- 
ducts camera workshops and editing 
workshops throughout the year, culminat- 
ing in screening events where clients pres- 
ent their work to their peers and to the 
general public. One of the components of 
their work is The Living Legacy Project, 
where clients compose "video letters" for 
their family and loved ones- (Participants 
can choose whether or not to share their 
work with a broader public.) 

After six years of funding, their last 
grant was used to upgrade and 
purchase digital production 
equipment. This, along with a 
commitment by the organization 
to continue funding the personnel 
costs of the program, will sustain 
the project independent of future 
MNN funding, 
Tepeyac Television 

MNN funding to Asociacion 
Tepeyac de Nueva York supports 
the Tepeyac Television Service, 
developed to serve the undocu- 
mented Latino immigrant com- 
munity in New York City. 

The Tepeyac Television Service 
trains young adult immigrants to use 
video to tell their stories. TTS produces 
programs utilizing image and sound 
manipulation, animation and experimen- 
tal narrative techniques to speak to the 
lives of young Latino immigrants as they 
encounter and adapt Lo their new sur- 
roundings. One program provided a cri- 
tique of U.S. immigration policy by using 
the words from a President George W. 
Bush immigration speech juxtaposed with 
images of immigrant workers in the U.S., 
border crossings, and corporate /social 
icons. Programs produced by the project 
are cablecast bi- weekly on MNN and 
broadcast monthly on channel 7 in 
Guadalajara, Mexico. 
Dominican Women's Development 
Center and Ai ianza Do mink ana 

One of New York's largest Latino popu- 
lations is composed of immigrants from 
the Dominican Republic, A large percent- 

age of NYC 's Dominicans live in northern 
Manhattan in the Inwood and 
Washington Heights communities. MNN 
has provided funding to two organiza- 
tions to bring resources to these commu- 

At the Dominican Women's 
Development Center, the Chrysalis 
Project supports the growth and develop- 
ment of Dominican and other Latina 
women by bringing them together and 
helping them seek solutions to the prob- 
lems that affect their lives, stressing self- 
sufficiency and shared ownership. The 
project is a p re-professional video pro- 
duction program providing training for 
Latina women in the field of video pro- 
duction, with an emphasis on skills and 
strategies participants will be able to uti- 
lize should they choose to pursue a career 
in video production. The Chrysalis Project 
allows the women to give voice to issues 

Students in video class at Alianza Domincana's La Plaza Beacon School 

La Plaza Beacon School is one of 10 origi- 
nal, nationally acclaimed Beacon 
Initiative school-based community cen- 
ters in the United States. 
The Lavender & Green Alliance 

The Lavender & Green Alliance (LGA) 
is dedicated to supporting and honoring 
the lives of Irish and Irish American les- 
bian, gay, bisexual and transgender 
(LGBT) people. With MNN support, 
Alliance members produced a series of 
oral history videos in the From Silence to 
Speech Project 

Remembering Robert was one of nine 
LGA programs produced over a two-year 
period. The program featured a conversa- 
tion with Stanley and Kathleen Rygor, 
parents of prominent New York AIDS 
activist and ACT-UP spokesperson Robert 
Rygor. In Remembering Robert, the 
Rygors, from the living room of their New 
York home, candidly recount the chal- 
lenges of homophobia and AIDS 
they faced as they came to terms 
with their son's sexual orienta- 
tion, AIDS diagnosis, and tragic 
death. Remembering Robert is a 
story of healing and reconcilia- 
tion and the transformation of a 
father's grief into action for 

These are only a few of the 
many extraordinary projects 
MNN has funded over the years. 
It is a tribute to MNN's Board of 
Directors and leadership that as 
budgetary constraints grow MNN 
has continued to support the 

and concerns important to them and to 
share their ideas with the larger commu- 

Alianza Dominicana, Inc. is a non- 
profit community development organiza- 
tion, whose mission is to assist children, 
youth and families to break the cycle of 
poverty and fulfill their potential as mem- 
bers of the wider community. Founded in 
1982, Alianza develops model initiatives 
that use comprehensive and integrated 
services to resolve families' multiple 
needs. With support from MNN, Alianza 
has been providing video training classes 
through its La Plaza Video Project since 
1993 and a studio production facility to 
the community since 1995. More than a 
thousand community residents have 
been trained in video production tech- 
niques since the program's inception. 
Based out of Alianza's La Plaza facility, the 

Community Media Grants program. 

MNN is extremely fortunate to have 
the funding in place to support this pro- 
gram. However, other organizations can 
replicate the model. The key components 
of the project feature training and men- 
toring that is sympathetic to the realities 
and needs of the organizations being 
served in addition to the allocation of 
production resources placed on-site. With 
a camcorder, eMac, targeted training and 
minimal operational support, this type of 
activity can be replicated in other com- 

Rick Jungers [] edited this arti- 
cle drawing upon material from the featured 
organizations. Rick is the director of commu- 
nity media for Manhattan Neighborhood 
Network. More information on the grant pro- 
gram can be found at 


Immigrants Find Help through CAN TV 

By Barbara Popovic 
and Raven Patterson 

Chicago history is rich in 
immigrant culture. 
Neighborhoods, street 
names, storefronts, arts 
events, festivals and parades 
all signify the multi-ethnic 
character of the city. Today 
there are approximately LI 
million immigrants in the 
Chicago area. Their labor, 
loves and struggles arc cap- 
tured in dance, song, and the 
works of local authors like Carl 
Sandburg, Nelson Algren and 
Studs Terkel. 

While the arts raise aware- 
ness by tapping the muse of 
immigrant life, over 60 immi- 
gration agencies in Chicago 
work to address the daily challenges that 
newcomers face. These agencies inform 
people about citizenship and residency 
applications, warn about fraudulent 
immigration practices, and provide need- 
ed information about a host of other con- 
cerns. In Chicago, legalization of undocu- 
mented immigrants is a key issue, partic- 
ularly with the large and growing popula- 
tion of Latino workers. These workers are 
often victimized in the day labor market, 
A 2002 University of Illinois at Chicago 
study found that undocumented workers 
contribute $5.45 billion to Chicago's econ- 
omy. But these workers don't have basic 
rights like holding a driver's license or 
joining a union. 

According to the U.S. Immigrants 
Census 2000, one in nine U.S. residents 
and one in seven U.S. workers are immi- 
grants. One in five children in the U.S. is 
an immigrant or has immigrant parents 
and one in four poor children is the child 
of an immigrant, Immigrants are vulnera- 
ble to a backlash in a poor economy suf- 
fering from job loss. Communities with a 
large immigrant population are chal- 
lenged with discrimination in housing. 
And since 9/11, immigrants from the Arab 
and Muslim communities throughout the 
country have been subjected to hate 
crimes, assault, and more subtle forms of 

In the spring of 2001, CAN TV piloted 

Sarah Waxman (left) and Deyanira Gutierrez of Latinos Progresando address a 
caller's question on CAN TV's Immigration Issues. 

a program called Immigration Issues on 
CAN TV21. This live call-in half-hour 
series appeared weekly for a month, with 
a particular emphasis on explaining 
Section 245(1) applications for permanent 
residence introduced in the House as H.R. 
1885. During the four weeks of the pro- 
gram, local agencies took calls, dissemi- 
nated information and made referrals. 
Despite the fact that the series was 
launched without promotion, the calls 
flowed in, demonstrating the importance 
of addressing issues relating to the immi- 
grant community. 

As a result of that first series, in 
October of 2001, CAN TV initiated a regu- 
lar weekly live call-in program with four 
local agencies rotating as hosts. In the 
three years that the series has existed, 
over 80 hours of live programming have 
been completed. Participating groups 
have included World Relief, Hebrew 
Immigrant Aid Society, Centro Sin 
Fronteras, Illinois Coalition for Immigrant 
& Refugee Rights, Asian Human Services, 
Latinos Progresando, DePaul Legal Clinic, 
Chicago Legal Clinic and Midwest 
Immigrant Rights Center. 

Some of the experts that host 
Immigration Issues speak multiple lan- 
guages or have guests who can handle 
inquiries in another language. Callers 
make inquiries in English, Spanish, 
Portuguese, Polish, German, Chinese and 

other languages. Typical 
questions focus on obtain- 
ing a green card, citizenship, 
or a social security number, 
and obtaining or renewing a 
work permit. The program 
provides a forum for agen- 
cies to answer questions 
about pending legislation 
and to provide updates and 
education about changes in 
immigration law and policy. 

Immigration agencies 
that host the program rec- 
ognize the need to get accu- 
rate information to the pub- 
lic. Where you have immi- 
grants, you have scammers 
trying to bilk the unsuspect- 
ing out of their savings. 
Such scams often end in 
deportation. According to Carol Pelton, 
director of immigration programs at 
Chicago Legal Clinic, Immigration Issues 
on CAN TV21 provides a place that people 
can call anonymously and get reliable 
information without risks. 

Several success stories have come out 
of doing the program, Chicago Legal 
Clinic assisted a woman who was able to 
break free from an abusive spouse and to 
gain legalization. World Relief has had 
success in keeping families together that 
were threatened with deportation. Agency 
representatives note that every week 
someone is set on the road to getting resi- 

Immigration Issues is a way to bypass 
communications roadblocks and reach 
people with help and referrals. Education 
is key in the post 9/11 environment of 
fear and distrust that has permeated 
much of the immigrant community. CAN 
TV connects a capable and committed 
community of immigration service 
groups with people in need of assistance. 
Ana Maria Soto, director of cultural affairs 
at Columbia College, says emphatically, 
"It's a great public service." 
Barbara Popovic [] is 
executive director and Raven Patterson [non-] is manager of non- 
profit services of CAN TV in Chicago, Illinois. 
Information on CAN TV nonprofit services and 
programming is available at 


San Lucas Workers Center Tackles Abuses 

by Greg Boo z ell 

Among the least understood issues in 
today's economy is its dependence on 
low- wage domestic employment. The 
outsourcing of jobs to lower- wage coun- 
tries is commonly discussed in the press 
and was even raised as an issue in the last 
presidential political campaign. However, 
the domestic trend to convert living wage 
jobs to temporary low-paying work 
receives considerably less public atten- 
tion. While workers have traditionally 
depended upon major corporations as a 
source of secure employment, increasing- 
ly these companies have depended upon 
day labor employment as part of their 
human resource strategy 

Chicago is no exception to this trend. 
While the city provides a destination for 
many immigrants seeking a better life, it 
also serves as a home to companies that 
exploit the ample supply of immigrant 
labor in dead-end, low-wage employment. 
In order to challenge the abuses of the day 
labor industry, the 
San Lucas Workers 
Center (SLWC) was 
formed in 2002. 
The SLWC is a com- 
mittee of U.S. born 
and immigrant 
workers, as well as 
community mem- 
bers who act in sol- 
idarity with the 
workers. SLWC's 
operating princi- 
ples embody a 
class -based con- 
ception of organizing and the organiza- 
tion is firmly committed to worker- driven 
decision making and autonomy. 

Acknowledging the importance of 
media creation and participation, SLWC 
formed a partnership in 2002 with 
Chicago Access Network TV (CAN TV) to 
train workers to produce a video on the 
abuses of Chicago's day labor industry. 
The project was made possible in part by 
support from the Crossroads Fund. 

Workers participated in scripting, 
shooting and editing the piece. From the 
start, an important tenet of the project 
was to have the workers tell their own sto- 
ries. Rather than rely on interviews with 
staff organizers or other people who advo- 

cate on behalf of workers, the group 
deliberately chose to only feature day 
labor workers in the video. 

This choice served two ends. First, 
conducting the interviews with workers 
helped those workers to better develop 
the skills needed to articulate their 
positions on the issue. Second, since 
the video featured workers, the video 
held greater legitimacy and appeal 
when it was later used to organize new 
day laborers. 

In the video, SLWC Worker/ Leader, 
Mario Johnson narrates the piece and 
w T a!ks the viewer through an examina- 
tion of the conditions faced by day 
laborers. Interviews with workers detail 
their challenges but also point to the 
need to organize and challenge injus- 
tice collectively. The group deliberately 
chose to include a broad range of day 
laborers including both immigrant and 
U.S. born, male and female, and English 
and Spanish -speaking workers. 

Playing U.S. 
born workers 
against immigrant 
laborers is one of 
the corrupt prac- 
tices of day labor 
agencies. For 
example, it's not 
uncommon for day 
labor employers to 
specifically request 
immigrant workers 

resentment to the appropriate target— 
the day labor employer. 

The video has two audiences. The first 
is day labor workers. This tape is regularly 
used as an organizing tool to involve new 

Harvey Cole 

labor Services , Ine; 


San Lucas Workers Center member Raquel Arroyo f or j 0D assign 
describes the unfair and illegal working conditions faced 
by day laborers in Chicago. 

ments. These ille- 
gal requests are 
based in the belief that immigrant work- 
ers are easier to exploit since, fearing 
deportation, many immigrant workers 
hesitate to complain about unsafe or ille- 
gal working conditions. The apparent 
favor granted to immigrant workers for 
job assignments can contribute to resent- 
ment among U.S. born workers. 

Critically addressing such resentment 
necessitated raising the class-conscious- 
ness of all the workers to understand how 
the day labor industry manipulates day 
laborers against one another. The process 
of making the video and listening to the 
testimonials provided by both immigrant 
and U.S. born workers helped build 
understanding and redirect any personal 

In a public demonstration workers challenge day labor 
agency owner Harvey Cole at the offices of Elite Labor 

workers in the campaign for economic 
justice. Earlier this year, San Lucas 
Worker/ Leader Randy Smith conducted 
organizing training with day laborers in 
Cleveland. After screening the video he 
remarked that the workers were so 
inspired by the message of the tape that 
they insisted on conducting an action 
against a local day labor agency immedi- 

Since this issue has received scant 
attention in the commercial media, the 
second intended audience was the broad 
public through public access cable televi- 
sion. In this case the goal was and is to 
raise public awareness and understand- 
ing by amplifying the voices of those cur- 
rently held at the economic margins of 
mainstream society. 

While exposing the abuses suffered by 
day labor workers, the video also shows 
some of the greatest financial beneficiaries 
of that exploitation. Viewers are surprised 
to learn that large, mainstream corpora- 
tions including The Chicago Tribune, The 
Chicago Sun-Times, Sara Lee and Marshall 
Fields commonly use day labor workers in 
low- wage and sometimes dangerous work. 
Through cable television, critical views 
were presented of well-known firms which 
challenged the usual pro-corporate 
images that these firms spend millions to 
disseminate on television. 

Greg Boozell [] is technology 
director for Chicago Access Network TV as 
well as an independent video maker on labor 
and class issues. 


LA Freewaves Festival Artworks Reveal 
Diverse Cultures and Common Struggles 

* Through our scientific and techno- 
logical genius, we have made of this 
world a neighborhood and yet we have 
not had the ethical commitment to make 
of it a brotherhood. Bui somehow, and in 
some way, we have got to do this. We 
must all learn to live together as brothers 
or we will all perish together as fools.' 

— Rkv. Ma in in Luther King, Jr. 

Artists, activists, workers 
& community members: 
'How Can You Resist?' 

In November 2004, for its ninth biennial 
festival of video, film and new media, 
LA Freewaves invited media artists and 
curators from around the wo rid to com- 
ment on the struggles unfolding in their 
communities, united around the theme 
"How Can You Resist?" The festival, which 
included 150 works by artists from 30 
countries and five continents, included 
screenings and installations throughout 
the month in several downtown Los 
Angeles venues, along with cablecasts on 
LA City Channel 36 and Pasadena 
Channel 56, and video streaming on the 
website at 

The festival showcased media that was 
chosen by 13 international and regional 
media curators after viewing more than 
1,500 works and soliciting entire pro- 
grams from all five continents. The final 
program included provocative projections 
such as: Can We Make Nectar from 
Poison?, video art from India and Pakistan 
curated by Pooja Sood; Dare to Exist, 


Pi Li, video curator and art historian, Central Academy of 
Fine Ait, Beijing, China 
November Paynter, curator, Platform Garanti 
Contemporary Art Center, Istanbul, Turkey 
Miguel Petchkovsky Morals, video curator, writer and 
filmmaker, based in Angola, Portugal and Holland 

Jose'Roca, chief of temporary exhibitions, Biblioteca Luis 
Angel Aran go, Bogota, Colombia 

Pooja Sood, curator, Apeejay Media Gallery, New Delhi, 

video art from Africa, curated by Miguel 
Petchkovsky Morais with Jeffrey Normile; 
and Fast Track, video art from China, 
coordinated by Pi Li and Freewaves based 
on the exhibition "Between Past and 
Future" curated by Wu Hung and 
Christopher Phillips. 

In reviewing the works from India, 
Africa, Southeast 
Asia, the Middle 
East and all the 
Americas, LA 
Freewaves founder 
and festival direc- 
tor Anne Bray 
found commonali- 
ties as striking as 
the diversity. 
"Resistance has 
many incarnations 
in the festival, but 
from Mozambique 
to Colombia to 
right here in 
downtown Los 
Angeles, communi- 
ties are dealing with the effects of global- 
ization, such as global warming, labor 
exploitation and eviction/' Bray says. 
"These stories reveal what's missing from 
the five o'clock news, and our mission is 
to provide a forum for voices that main- 
stream media outlets ignore/' 

During the first weekend of the festi- 
val, Freewaves presented 30 video instal- 
lations and projections, many arriving 
Fro m A IV i c a a n d Indi a , c re a l i n g a kaleid o - 
scope of ideas and images from the 
world's most adventuresome media 

artists. For the second 
weekend, 68 works of 
film and video were 
organized into nine the 
matic programs. The 
third weekend, which 
was held at Strategic 
Actions for a just 
Economy, a nonprofit, 
community 7 - develop - 
ment organization in 
the Figueroa Corridor, 
featured live blues 
music, food, break- 

dancing, emcees, and activist documen- 
taries entitled Globalize This! During the 
fourth and final Saturday night over 
Thanksgiving weekend, interactive new 
media works, artists' karaoke, digital graf- 
fiti and video games stretched the bound- 
aries of technology and veracity in gal- 
leries and cafes around Chinatown's 

Opening night of the LA Freewaves Festival at MOCA Geffen Contemporary. 

Central Plaza and Chung King Road. 

In further describing the festival, Bray 
said, "I see this year's festival as a conver- 
gence of two remarkable developments, 
neither of which I could have anticipated 
a few years ago. First, the public's interest 
in the issues surrounding media literacy 
has increased exponentially. People are 
skeptical about the images they see on 
the television news. Are these images real? 
Are we getting the whole story? These 
questions are no longer the exclusive 
domain of conspiracy theorists. 

"Regardless of whether or not you 
agree with their message or their tactics, 
the success of Fahrenheit 9/11 and 
Outfoxed is evidence that the public is 
dissatisfied with sound bites. 

'At the same time, artists are turning 
their attention to politics. Artists are like 
the canary in the mineshaft, and it is pre- 
cisely when free speech is imperiled that 
we have an obligation to speak out. For a 
variety of reasons, commercial media out- 
lets have failed to address the critical 
issues of our time whether it's the Patriot 
Act, or weapons of mass destruction, or 


economic justice in a global econo- 
my. We think the public is craving a 
more substantive debate on these 
issues, and artists want to partici- 
pate/' she continued. 

"As many of the festival's works 
demonstrate, it has become impossi- 
ble to discuss political injustice with- 
out addressing economic issues as 
well" Bray says. "Even the language 
of resistance has been appropriated 
by advertisers, as in 'how can you 
resist this shampoo, or chocolate bar, 
or cleavage' and artists and activists 
alike need to update their tactics in 
order to be heard in our society." 

LA Freewaves is southern 
California's preeminent advocate for 
independent, experimental, non- 
commercial ;md under-represented 
media. For 15 years, Freewaves has 
presented the LA Freewaves Festival 
of Film, Video and New Media, which 
brings the newest of new media arts 
from around the world to Los 
Angeles. In addition, Freewaves is 
producing TV programs about the 
media arts and building a large 
online archive to reach more inter- 
national artists and audiences, in 
order to make the 2004 festival 
accessible to audiences outside Los 
Angeles, Freewaves has put a selec- 
tion of works on line at in four different versions 
(large and small versions of Windows 
Media Player and Quicktime) in an 
attempt to accommodate a wide 
range of bandwidlhs. 

Festival hinders included 
California Community Foundation, 
City of Los Angeles Cultural Affairs 
Department, The James Irvine 
Foundation, National Endowment 
for the Arts, Getty Grant Program, LA 
County Arts Commission, Peter 
Norton Family Found a lion and the 
Pasadena Art Alliance. 

"Ifs time to globalize 
more than just sneakers 
and satellite dishes/' 
Bray says. "Let's globalize 
things people really 
need, like living wages 
and free speech/' 

Getting Out: 600,000 
in the Next 12 Months 

a new film from george 
Stoney and David Bagnall 

A rough cut of Getting Out was 
screened by makers David Bagnall 
and George Stoney on the opening 
night of the Alliance's annual 
International Conference and Trade 
Show in Tampa last July to draw atten- 
tion to this startling fact: Some 2.25 
million U.S. citizens are kept behind 
bars. Some 600,000 are due to be 
released in the next 12 months, most of 
them with no preparation for what 
awaits them "outside." 

"It isn't surprising," said Stoney, "that 
more than half will be behind bars again 
within another year, back to the only secu- 
rity they know" 

Getting Out is a spin-off from a feature- 
length documentary Bagnall and Stoney 
have been recording since 1997, when they 
were present for the first performance by a 
prisoner- run writing and theater program 
called Rehabilitation Through the Arts 
(RTA) at Sing Sing, New York State's maxi- 
mum security facility. RTAwas formed with 
the help of Katherine Vockins, wife of Sing 
Sing's chaplain, to help 1111 the void created 
when the state government cut off all 
financial help for cultural and higher edu- 
cation programs to satisfy the perceived 
public demand that it be "hard on crime." 

Anthony Perkins [left] and Keith Grant from Getting Out 

The featured players in Getting Out are 
Robert Sanchez and Carlos Santiago, both 
gifted poets and actors, who were paroled 
in 2001 after each served 15 years. Carlos 
was imprisoned at 14, Robert at 19. Both 
were particularly energetic and disciplined 

Robert Sanchez [left] and Carlos Santiago from Getting Out 

j in taking advantage of every opportunity 
they found to get an education before the 
programs were ended. Both credit their 
experience as members of RTA for giving 
them the skills and self-confidence that 
have helped them be successful, 

"And because they have done well," 
Stoney told the audience, "we figure they 
are better able to explain to middle class 
viewers how hard it is to start over with a 
felony conviction on your records. If we 
presented a couple of losers it might sim- 
ply confirm most people's preconceptions." 

When the film is finished, its makers 
will make it freely available for cablecasting 
on public access systems. "But just having 
people see our film is not our prime objec- 
tive. We hope our film will Inspire access 
producers to seek out people and organiza- 
tions in their own communities who 
are concerned with the fate of former 
inmates and their families. Ultimately 
litde can help these people unless it is 
done locally... one man or woman, one 
family at a time," 

Producers interested in this topic 
should correspond with the filmmakers 
via Stoney can suggest 
films to use in gaining the cooperation 
from people involved. He can also rec- 
ommend material should you be con- 
sidering a series of programs on this 
topic and want to show what is hap- 
pening around the country If you have 
tapes yourself, or know of ones that belong 
on his list of recommendations, he is eager 
to receive your contributions. Tapes (VHS 
preferred) should be addressed to him at: 
TSOA, NYU , 721 Broadway #944, New York, 

Multilingual Journalism at Lehman College 

Lehman College Multilingual Journalism Professor Jim Carney (far left} with Project Engineer Yves 
Dossous (Front row, center) and student members of the Lehman NetRadio project. 

by Jim Carney 

In 1994, over 6000 members of four 
minority journalist associations met in 
Atlanta Georgia at the "UNITY '94 
Convention" to discuss the role of minori- 
ty professionals in the United States. It 
was clear at the convention that print and 
broadcast news media help perpetuate 
the notion that cultural, racial and lin- 
guistic diversity is a liability, not an asset. 
In the past the issues focused on black 
and white; today they encompass the 
racial, ethnic and cultural dynamics of 
Asian Americans, Hispanic s, Native 
Americans, African Americans, and those 
of diverse European ancestry. The pur- 
pose of UNITY "94 was to present a blue- 
print that included preparing minority 
high school and college students to be 
journalists and supporting instructional 
programs that reflect and respond to 
multi- cultural communities. While over a 
decade has passed, there are few innova- 
tive approaches to answer these chal- 
lenges. A recent study by the American 
Society of Newspaper Editors found that 
in 2003, minority representation in 
American newsrooms was only 12.5 per- 
cent while the general minority popula- 
tion is over 31 percent. It was this need for 
diversity in American newsrooms that 
gave birth to the Multilingual Journalism 
Program (MLJ) at City University of New 
York's Lehman College in the Bronx. 

The Bronx is well known for its ethnic 
diversity and particularly its wide variety 
of Spanish -speaking immigrant popula- 
tions. However, the ML J program was 
designed to go well beyond English and 
Spanish journalism. The curriculum for 
the degree— the only one of its kind in the 
nation — combines a mixture of tradition- 
al journalism courses with advanced 
training in journalistic writing, in a variety 
of foreign languages, and a holistic 
approach to different and new forms of 
media. The program also goes beyond lin- 
guistics in that a strong focus on multicul- 
tural sensitivities is built into the curricu- 
lum. For example, one course is dedicated 
to researching and studying issues rang- 
ing from "Cultural Defense" in criminal 
cases of domestic abuse, to acceptable 
eye contact for television interviews in 
Asian cultures. 


While The Bronx and New York City 
are well known for having diverse popula- 
tions r The various ethnic communities still 
maintain a level of insulation, resisting 
assimilation and external scrutiny. 
Students are exposed to new perspectives 
and guided on ways to respect the cul- 
tures they cover. By assigning students to 
research ethnic communities other than 
their own, they are forced to visit neigh- 
borhoods, and to review and report on 
local newspapers and radio and cable 
programs presented in languages such as 
Korean, Yiddish, French Creole and many 

More importantly, prospective ethnic 
journalists are trained to work within 
their own communities, to bring to light 
news, information and analysis of issues 
and societal problems that are important 
to the general American public, with 
understanding and sensitivity. With the 
tools and skills of traditional journalism, 
and increased cultural sensitivity to their 
own culture and the cultures of their 
neighbors, these new journalists become 
the bridge that spans the gap separating 
ethnic communities. 

Equally important to the curricular 
elements of the Multilingual Journalism 
Program are the hands-on opportunities 
for young journalists to "cut their teeth" in 
the craft. One of the first products of the 

MLJ Program was The Bronx Journal This 
monthly newspaper, published \vith a 
multilingual section with articles and fea- 
tures in 1.2 different languages, allows stu- 
dents to write both in English and in the 
languages they study. Distributed to com- 
munity centers, schools, senior centers 
and oLher distribution points, the free 
publication not only serves the college 
and students, but serves the Bronx com- 
munity as a whole. 

Other projects arising from the MLJ 
Program include television programs, 
produced by students and distributed 
through BronxNet, the Community Access 
Center co-located in the same building as 
the Mass Communication and Multilin- 
gual Journalism Program. An early educa- 
tional access program called 168 Horns 
was a weekly Spanish language magazine 
program dealing with issues and person- 
alities in the diverse Hispanic population 
in the Bronx, toother series, Multilingual 
News, provided a recap of the week's news 
from around the world presented in 
French, Italian, Spanish and Japanese. 

Currently the award-winning maga- 
zine program Inside Lehman is produced 
by Mass Communication, MLJ and the- 
atre students under the tutelage of veter- 
an NBC producer, Tom O'Hanlon. The 
highly produced program highlights the 
programs and the people of the Lehman 

community, and is cablecast to the entire 
city through the public access channels of 
BronxNet and the CUNY-TV educational 
access channel. 

The newest and most innovative effort 
mounted by the Lehman ML] /Mass 
Communication Program reflects the 
convergence of new and traditional 
media. Lehman NetRadio made its debut 
on election night 2004 with perspective, 
analysis and discussion of the presidential 
and local races by Lehman students. The 
project is designed to allow students to 
produce programming for cable television 
via BronxNet, and for "web radio" with- 
er without — video, with the assistance of 
the Bronx Information Network 
Consortium, which streams the audio and 
video programming to the worldwide 

Programs in development include a 
Spanish-language series on fashion, a 
program profiling and showcasing sub- 
way and street performers, a Russian pro- 
gram dealing with American and interna- 
tional politics, and a Thai program in 
both Thai and English. The new produc- 
tion facility utilizes broadcast quality 
robotic Panasonic cameras, a digital 
audio board and a new VT3 computer- 
based switching, graphic and editing sys- 
tem, so that high quality productions can 
be mounted with two or three crew mem- 
bers. The long-term plan is to have a line™ 
up of programming which is a mixture of 
video, audio and Internet. The "websta- 
tion" will be curated by faculty, and creat- 
ed and produced by students and alumni. 
A natural outgrowth of the program is a 
well-trained, culturally sensitive group of 
students who approach the world with a 


! LEHMAN jj j 


The front cover of The Bronx Journal publication 
the multilingual pull-out section of the paper. 

broader view 7 , and at 
the same time a 
respect for the 
nuanced elements of 
their own ethnic com- 
munity as well as that 
of their neighbors. 

The success of the 
program recently 
prompted Lehman 
College and CUNY to 
expand the MLJ/Mass 
Communication pro- 
gram into the first 
new department cre- 
ated at the college 
since the 1970s. While 
it's gratifying to win 
awards and receive 
accolades from aca- 
demic and industry leaders, perhaps the 
most significant testament to the success 
of the new Journalism, Communication 
and Theatre Department at Lehman is 
enrollment. In the last year alone the 
number of majors jumped from 149 to 
over 250. 

On a practical level, the multimedia 
approach to journalism, where old media 
paradigms such as traditional television 
and radio are challenged, has much to 
offer all communicators, including com- 
munity media producers. By thinking of 
media production and journalism as not 
just TV, radio or print, but as a seamless 
mixture of formats and technologies, the 
new producer is liberated from many of 
the traditional constrictions of old media. 
The advances in technology open both 
the production and the distribution of 
ideas and information in ways unthink- 
able a decade ago. By 
embracing new 
technologies and 
not limiting pro- 
gramming con- 
cepts to old mod- 
els, journalists and 
producers alike can 
increase the 
I amount and diver- 
sity of ideas. 

While the for- 
malized structure of 
the Lehman 
approach to multi- 
lingual journalism 
(left), and the front page of has proved success- 
ful on an academic 

Lehman College Multilingual Journalism Students discuss local New York 
State elections in a live election night production, broadcast on Bronxnet 
Community TV and over the internet over The Bronx Information Network, 

level, the lessons learned and the 
approaches taken by the program are 
applicable to all community media practi- 
tioners. Given that America is no longer 
just a nation with many minorities, but a 
nation primarily composed of a patch- 
work of ethnic populations, cultural sen- 
sitivity to one's own ethnic group, as well 
as one's neighbor's, is critical at all levels 
of American society. With intolerance and 
cultural isolationism on the rise, the 
importance of a diversity of voices is more 
critical than ever. Just as the answer to 
dealing with hate speech is the creation of 
more counterbalancing speech, the 
answer to intolerant and divisive racist 
speech is more diverse and culturally- sen- 
sitive speech. 

While the elusive goals of the partici- 
pants of UNITY '94 are still to be realized, 
progress is being made in increasing the 
presence and influence of minority jour- 
nalists in this country. Just as the develop- 
ment of cable television opened channels 
of communications to under- rep resented 
communities through community access, 
new technologies married with new atti- 
tudes that are sensitive to the changing 
landscape of America hold the promise of 
a more diverse and more tolerant society. 

Jim Carney [] 
is assistant professor of Journalism, 
Communication and Theater at Lehman 
College, City University of New York, and 
served as executive director of Bronxnet 
Community Television for nine years. 



Community Media Review 

i~1ongress reconvened in January with the news that they 
I intend to rewrite the 1996 Telecommunications Act over 
\ythe next two to three years. Pressure from the telecommu- 
nications industry to "level the playing field" and remove all 
barriers to competition means that public interest require- 
ments of all carriers (cable, telephone, voice over internet, 
satellite) are at risk. 

The Community Media Workers Guide to the Rewrite of 
the 1 996 Telecommunications Act is designed as a tool for 
grassroots media activists who are willing and able to educate 
their volunteers, producers and general audiences about the 
pressing importance of pending changes in federal communi- 
cations policy. Public advocates "inside the beltway" cannot 
do this alone. Nor can grassroots media activists. The only 
way to combat the deep and abiding influence of commercial 
telecommunications and media interests in Washington's law 
making process is to generate a "tipping point" in public 
awareness, generating an outcry and action that forces 
Congress to pay attention to the public interest. The Guide is 
designed to assist in this effort and help community media 
workers understand, articulate and perpetuate the "sticky 
message" (No More Free Ride!) that results in significant lev- 
els of public concern and can be translated into real influence 
and long term protection for alternative media. 

The Guide will: 

A Identify sections of the 1934 Communications Act and the 
1996 Telecommunications Act that require public attention 
and action so that the next iteration of US telecommunica- 
tions law will adequately compensate our communities for 
the commercial use of their public-rights- of way and spec- 

A Recruit the help of "inside the beltway" media reformers 
and grassroots media activists to clearly articulate the public 
interest position with which we must move forward in order 
to gain ground for free and diverse speech and public access 
to all telecommunications carriers. 

Compile best practices and success stories that will inspire 
and inform community media activists to mobilize their com- 
munity members and create a national momentum on behalf 
of the public interest agenda. 

A Highlight points in the legislative and regulatory process 
where public influence should be brought to bear. 
A Present educational content within a graphic, media litera- 
cy context that encourages the use and distribution of the 
Guide. Cartoons, large typeface, graphs and photographs, 
maps, sidebars and teaching/field tips will form the sub- 
stance of the printed guide. These techniques will be aug- 
mented with video and animation produced by independent 
media makers in the DVD and website. 
A Provide a platform for the Alliance for Community Media 
to reach across the siios of media advocacy and build collabo- 
rations with fellow activists that will lead to significant media 
reform over the next several years. 

Citizens' Media Projects Alter 
Latin America's Media Map 

by Dean Graber 

Media in Latin America that operate outside traditional mainstream 
models frequently receive the label "alternative media:" However, 
there are new ways to view the thousands of community radio and 
TV broadcasters, newspapers, and Internet -based projects that are pro- 
duced collectively in communities from Mexico to the Southern Cone, 
often by citizens who have no other direct access to media channels. 

By renaming such projects "citizens' media," communication pro- 
fessor Clemencia Rodriguez offers a new conceptual framework 
through which to examine them. In her hook Fissures in the 
Mediascape, she defines citizens' media as groups that enact their citi- 
zenship "by actively intervening and transforming the established land- 
scape." Their practices, she argues, empower communities to make 
changes and transformations. But the "alternative" label often obscures 
those impacts. 

For those who have adopted its use, the term "citizens' media" 
allows us to evaluate recent community media developments in a dif- 
ferent light. 

Citizens' media projects may form mere pinpricks on the media 
map of Latin America. And supporters who believe that grassroots 
newspapers, TV, and radio stations might become viable substitutes for 
mass media vehicles may be overestimating their reach. But by 
Rodriguez's definition, these small local media serve as more than mere 
"alternatives." In thousands of urban and rural communities, citizens' 
media play pivotal roles by enabling citizens to enact their rights of 
expression, and to strengthen their conception of citizenship. 

As they confront legal, physical, and financial challenges, citizens' 
media have gained broad respect and occasional prominence for their 
ability 7 to represent the perspectives of underrepresented communities. 
Community radio and video, for example, are widely credited for pre- 
serving and promoting indigenous languages and cultures of Lhe 
Mapuche in Chile, Aymara in Bolivia, Quecfma in Peru, and Maya in 
Mexico and Guatemala, 

But community media have also acquired enemies in the public 
and private sectors who wage frequent attempts to thwart their success. 

Two recent events in South America illustrate how progress in the 
community media field can involve a few steps forward in one country, 
and one step back in another— often simultaneously. 

On November 10, 2004, community broadcasters in Argentina 
gained ground in their efforts to modify a law enacted during the "Dirty 
War" in the late 1970s. The law had banned community- based and 
cooperative entities from owning radio and TV stations, and had limit- 
ed that right to commercial owners. By a nearly unanimous vote, the 
Chamber of Deputies approved a bill to modify that article of the law. 
Although the proposed reform still faces a final Senate vote, neighbor- 
hood associations, women's and youth organizations, labor unions, and 
other social movements inched closer to gaining legal status to broad- 
cast—joining more than 2,000 citizens' radio stations reported to exist 
already in Argentina, despite their illegality 

In contrast, community media stations in neighboring countries 
were under assault. On October 29, police in Paraguay burst into the 
community radio station Salado FM, in the city of Limpio, 15 miles (25 
kmj from the capital, and squelched its transmissions, the World 
Association of Community Radio Broadcasters (A MARC) reported. 

According to AM ARC, Paraguayan regula- 
tors had ordered the shutdown, claiming 
the station's broadcasts interfered with air 
traffic control signals. Similarly, in Uruguay, 
AMARC reported that a community radio 
broadcaster in Montevideo was attacked in 
November by a neighborhood gang and 
hospitalized with internal injuries — an act 
that station leaders believe was intended to 
scare them out of the neighborhood. 

Transformation and Empowerment. 
Recent events in Latin America support 
Rodriguez's assertion that citizens' media 
projects enable participants to transform 
existing media structures and empower 
their communities. But, in the process, 
many face severe intolerance and intimi- 

Citizens' media producers from around 
the world converged in Brazil's southern 
city of Porto Alegre in July 2004 for the 
fourth gathering of OURMedia/ N U ESTROg 
Med i os, a network of community media 
practitioners, scholars, and activists. 
Workshops at OURMedia highlighted citi- 
zens' media practices from five continents. 
The four- day event also illuminated Brazil's 
experiences and featured a visit to Radio 
Restinga, a station on Porto Alegre's periph- 
ery that had broadcast several reports 
denouncing inadequate medical care in the 
neighborhood, Brazil's Independent Media 
Center reported. Radio Restinga had also 
been fined for broadcasting without a 
license. Less than two weeks after the tour 
by OURMedia delegates, a dozen police 
officers and federal agents closed the sta- 
tion and seized its equipment. 

Despite the widespread closure of com- 
munity radio stations in Brazil (described 
further on), other citizens' media, such as 
neighborhood newspapers, have thrived 
there. A newspaper written by homeless 
residents of Porto Alegre has circulated 
every quarter since 2000. In Rio de Janeiro, 
residents in a few of the city's 700 shanty- 
town favelas study journalism and photog- 
raphy. An Internet- based favela "news 
agency" was launched in Rio to provide a 
realistic portrai t of the communities. And 
in northeastern Brazil, the non-governmen- 
tal organization Comunicagao e Cultura 
("Communication and Culture") has oper- 
ated an innovative chain of citizens' news- 
papers for more than 13 years, training 
local citizens and students in public 
schools to become reporters, and to "enact 
citizenship" through community journal- 
ism. In 2003, the NGO assisted newspaper 
projects in more than 100 northeastern 

communities and, in 2004, expanded its 
publishing project into the southeastern 
state of Sao Pau lo. 

Community media has also grown else- 
where in Latin America. In Colombia, 
where new community radio licenses have 
not been issued for seven years, the citi- 
zens' radio sector could expand by more 
than 400 stations as early as 2005, adding to 
the nearly 500 that already exist. Last 
November, the Communications Ministry 
issued a draft of its guidelines for approving 
new co rn rn u n i ty stati o n s . Simi 1 arly, 
Venezuela's government authorized permits 
last September for 22 more community 
radio stations and one TV channel, pushing 
to 150 the to tal of authorized community 
broadcasters. The government's National 
Telecommunications Commission (COXA- 
TEL) is trying to promote community 
media as an alternative to the private chan- 
nels that have opposed the government of 
President Hugo Chavez, the newspaper El 
Universal reported. 

And in Central America, where under- 
ground radio stations crackled throughout 
die lengthy guerrilla wars, citizens' radio 
now gives voice to farm workers, teenagers, 
and indigenous women and men whose 
communities were excluded from the mass 
media for generations. Non-governmental 
and religious organizations train communi- 
ty broadcasters to produce their own news 
and entertainment programming and to 
address varied issues of local relevance, 
such as nutrition, domestic violence, and 
rural forestry 

Challenges. Community media 
encounter many challenges from regula- 
tors, politicians, and commercial interests 
who may view community media as 

In Brazil, for example, citizens' radio is 
under siege (see story page 33). By some 
estimates, more than 4,000 community 
broadcasters have applied for licenses, but 
the federal regulating agency ANATEL, has 
not responded. Meanwhile, federal and 
state authorities have shut down unli- 
censed community stations at the rate of 
up to 12 per day. More than 4,400 stations 
were silenced in 2003 — on top of 3,200 oth- 
ers closed in 2002, according to news 
reports. And in late 2004, radio antennas 
continued to fall like dominos. In a single 
day in October, federal agents dismantled 
12 unlicensed stations in the city of Beio 
Horizonte— home to one of Latin America's 
most renowned community stations, Radio 
Favela. That station, which won two Uniled 

Nations awards lor its anti-drug campaigns, 
has remained on the air since 1981, despite 
government shutdowns, flood damage, and 

Government investigators acknowledge 
that police who enforce the closure orders 
have oft cm acted violently against station 
personnel. And some media activists 
describe Brazil's community broadcasting 
laws as among the most oppressive in the 

In Mexico, where President Vicente 
Fox's campaign platform called for greater 
guarantees for freedom of expression and 
the press, community radio stations persist 
in their battle for legalization. Commercial 
broadcasters argue that community sta- 
tions are "pirates" that interfere with 
licensed stations. Dozens of community 
broadcasters have sought, but not received, 
permits from the Secretariat for Communi- 
cations and Transportation. They insist that 
the government's systematic refusal to issue 
licenses forces them to operate illegally, 
subjecting them to raids by regulators. 

Citizens' media face financial and phys- 
ical threats as well. In Colombia, a govern- 
ment study warned thaL several community 
TV stations could fold if they don't improve 
their management, the newspaper El 
Tiempo reported in December 2003. And in 
2004, press freedom groups pushed 
Colombian officials to solve the year- old 
murder of community radio broadcaster 
Juan Emeterio Rivas, who had produced a 
controversial opinion program on a com- 
munity radio station. A suspect, the mayor 
of Rivas' city in northern Colombia, was 
arrested and then released for lack of evi- 

Against this backdrop, citizens groups 
in Latin America will continue in 2005 to 
exercise their rights to operate their own 
media, despite numerous institutional and 
cultura] obstacles. No one expects the com- 
munity o p e r a lions 1 o re p 1 a c e c o nglo t n e r - 
ates. But for committed citizens — such as 
those in the 400 Colombian towns that 
could soon get radio licenses — the achieve- 
ment of a place on the media map holds 
more meaning, and more promise, than the 
label "alternative." 

Dean Graber [ ], a 
former wire service and newspaper reporter in 
the U.S. and Brazil, has also worked with citi- 
zens' media projects for 12 years. He is based 
at the University of Texas at Austin, where he 
manages a training program for Latin 
American journalists, 


Colombian Indigenous Peoples Decide 
What to Do with Modern Media 

by Jeanine El Gaz 1 and 
Clemencia Rodriguez 2 

By 2002, 14 indigenous radio stations 
had begun operating in Colombia 
reaching 78.6 percent of the national 
indigenous population. 3 In the following 
paragraphs we would like to share with 
U.S. media activists and academics a frac- 
tion of the fascinating and complex story 
behind these radio stations. 

It all starts with what is perhaps the 
most important transformation in the 
Colombian legal framework: the 
Constitution of 1991. Breaking in two 
Colombia's contemporary history the 
Constitution of 'SI embodies a major 
accomplishment on the part of 
Colombian progressive social movements. 
Under pressure from social justice organi- 
zations, the Colombian political elite 
finally gave way allowing for constitution- 
al reform in 1991. Years of grassroots 
organizing and mobilizing since the 1960s 
and 1970s led to Colombia's new social 
contract as embodied in the constitution. 

Although a thorough analysis of the 
Constitution of '91 is beyond the scope of 
this article, we want to emphasize the fea- 
tures that affect Colombian indigenous 
media. First, the Colombian indigenous 
movement was one of the strongest pro- 
tagonists in the effort toward constitu- 
tional reform. The 1970s, for instance, had 
seen a widespread — courageous and 
ingenious — process of land recuperation 
by indigenous communities in southern 
Colombia, which had suffered centuries 
of expropriation by powerful local 
landowners. As a result, issues of impor- 
tance to ethnic minorities were always 
central in both the constitutional discus- 
sions prior to 1991 and the final text. 
Second, the Constitution of '91 left 
behind the idea of "nation" as a monolith- 
ic entity founded in one language, one 
religion, one identity; and one culture, 
and espoused an idea of "nation" as a dia- 
logue among diverse ethnic and cultural 
identities, As a result, the Constitution of 
'91 repeatedly recognizes the right to dif- 
ference, and the notion that Colombia is a 
nation constituted by many different 


identities, interests, and dreams for a 

On the basis of three arguments, the 
Constitution of '91 recognized that 
Colombian indigenous peoples deserved 
differential treatment from the 
Colombian state: their different identity, 
their different needs, and the historical 
debt of the Colombian state toward 
indigenous communities. These served as 
a framework for a series of legal mecha- 
nisms favoring Colombian indigenous 
peoples. As part of this differential treat- 
ment sanctioned by the new constitution, 
the Colombian state provided indigenous 
communities with radio stations. 

Another important component of this 
story is the Colombian Ministry of 
Culture. Part of this Ministry, the Unidad 
de Radio {Office for Radio), has played a 
central role in supporting a nascent 
movement of citizens' media in the coun- 
try Since 1995, the Unidad de Radio has 
launched a series of initiatives to 
strengthen Colombian citizens' media. In 
a rare case of a government supporting 
citizens' media, the Unidad de Radio has 
provided guidance and training in techni- 
cal and legal aspects, as well as estab- 
lished a favorable environment in which 
different communities can discuss citi- 
zens' media issues such as regulation, 
sustainability, programming, and audi- 
ences. This resulted in a discussion about 
indigenous radio among leaders of 
Colombian indigenous peoples. Once the 
Colombian government confirmed that 

each indigenous community would have 
its own radio station, the questions 
emerged. What is indigenous radio? Why 
do indigenous peoples need modern 
media? What is indigenous radio for? The 
Unidad de Radio was committed to facili- 
tating this discussion and to acting on the 
decisions of the indigenous leaders. 

In May of 2000 the Unidad de Radio 
convened the first International Meeting 
of Indigenous Radio of America. With 
international guests such as a Shuar 
speaker from Ecuador, a Mapuche speak- 
er from Chile, and Susan Rraine from a 
Hopi radio station in the United States, 
this event laid the groundwork for 
unprecedented dialogue among American 
indigenous leaders around their experi- 
ences with citizens' media. The meeting 
also included 28 Colombian indigenous 
leaders who spent two days discussing 
the ins and outs of welcoming these 
media technologies in their communities. 

Colombian indigenous peoples do not 
have a unified attitude toward media 
technologies. Their approaches to media 
are as diverse as their own identities. 
Indigenous leaders from the Colombian 
Amazon communities, for example, 
defined their communication and infor- 
mation needs in terms of distance and 
the lack of efficient transportation. In the 
words of one Amazon indigenous leader: 
"For us, moving five kilometers costs 
6,000 pesos. Distant communities have to 
buy a tank of gas and rent a motorboat, 
and the tank lasts no more than ten min- 
utes, hand transportation is impossible in 
our territory, you have to travel by water 
or air, so some type of communication is 
extremely necessary." 4 After much inter- 
nal consultation and discussion, 
Colombian Amazon indigenous commu- 
nities decided that, more than radio sta- 
tions, what they most needed was rural 
telephony. The Colombian government 
responded with a regional Program for 
Rural Telephony and Telecenters. 

The Kogui community, living deep in 
the Sierra Nevada, a mountain range in 
northern Colombia, had a different per- 
spective. According to Kogui leader 

Arregoces, to introduce a radio station 
in the middle of a Kogui community 
would be like stabbing the motherland 
with a weapon directly connected to the 
processes of globalization and western- 
ization. The Kogui perceived a radio sta- 
tion as an undesirable conduit toward 
questionable West-led processes of 
globalization. A radio antenna for the 
Kogui is a knife -like weapon that binds 
their territory and culture to global capi- 
talism. The Kogui decided to decline 
having their own indigenous radio. 
Partly due to the isolation of their geo- 
graphic location in the remote Sierra 
Nevada, the Kogui have managed to stay 
fairly secluded. This geographic situa- 
tion framed their discussion and deter- 
mined their decision to not welcome 
media technologies. 

Northern Colombia is also the home 
to the Arhuacos indigenous community. 
As a result of their discussion about the 
role of media technologies, the 
Arhuacos decided that radio would be 
used not as a communications medium 
for their community, but as a tool for 
the Arhuacos to communicate with the 
rest of the world. The Arhuacos saw 
community radio as a means to talk to 
non-Indians. The Arhuacos consider 
that they have much to teach and to 
communicate to non- Arhuacos, in par- 
ticular to the newly arrived mestizo 
colonos coming to the Sierra Nevada in a 
search for new agricultural lands. For 
the Arhuacos it is clear that the intro- 
duction of radio into their lives has to 
follow a traditional process of consulta- 
tion with the mamas (Arhuaco tradition- 
al religious leaders). These consultations 
evolve at their own Arhuaco pace, not at 
Western speed, and for this reason, 
without any hesitation or rush, and 
despite the offer of the Colombian gov- 
ernment to equip them with a radio sta- 
tion, the Arhuacos have not implement- 
ed community radio in their territories. 

On the other side of the spectrum 
are the Awas and the Guambiano 
indigenous peoples, who have their own 
radio stations up and running. Mien the 
Colombian government asked indige- 
nous peoples to design their own local 
development programs, indigenous 
peoples responded by saying that they 
had no intention of "developing," which 
implies changing into something you 
are not. Colombian indigenous peoples 
then proposed their own Life Plans 

Grupo Aiavio: the Video 
Camera as Another Weapon 

by Marie Trigona 

Making technologies and skills acces- 
sible and available to exploited peo- 
ple by democratizing audiovisual 
production and language is a priori ty for 
Grupo Aiavio. For more than 10 years, 
Alavlo has been participating in working 
class struggles in Argentina and support- 
ing them with audiovisual materials. "We 
are working to construct an identity and 
thinking that reflects the specific interests 
and needs of the working class and oth er 
exploited sectors. The camera is a tool, 
another weapon/' says Grupo Alavio's 

The participants in Grupo Aiavio are 
not media activists. We don't think that 
life passes through a camera lens or a 
video screen. We see the camera as 
another political tool, and we are con- 
scious that at any moment it may be nec- 
essary to put down the camera and adopt 
other roles alongside those struggling. 
Activism cannot be pushed into the sin- 
gular role of filming with a camera or 
transmitting a TV signal, it is part of a 
demand for the right to organize, skills 
training and education for activists, the 
right to self-defense against violence on 
the part of the state, and the right to cre- 
ate our own media. 

We have used video to counter misin- 
formation in the mass media, as proof 
against government repression, as an 
inte rvention in organizations' internal 
debates, to prepare activists for action 
and evaluate their efforts, and as tools for 
popular education. Only afterwards were 
the videos presented as documentary 

Fundamental to Alavio's work is the 
group's integration into struggling organi- 
zations. This allows the group to establish 
collective spaces for audiovisual narra- 
tion and to actively participate with 
activists in social movements, assuming 
that activism goes far beyond producing 
audiovisual material. 

One of Alavio's most recent actions 
was participation in a weeklong camp in 
front of the National Congress in Buenos 
Aires, in a state of alert as the courts 
launched an eviction order, the workers 

of the occupied ceramics factory, Zanon, 
organized presentations, art exhibits, 
video screenings, music concerts, and 
other activities, Grupo Aiavio worked 
with other video groups to produce short 
daily news pieces about the camp (The 
videos were later shown during an 
assembly at Zanon to evaluate the camp.) 
and organized video screenings to con- 
nect the different social movements 
struggling to defend Zanon. At one 
screening, workers from the Chilavert 
printing factory presented the documen- 
tary Chilavert recuperet (Chilavert recu- 
perated) by Grupo Aiavio, A few days later 
Grupo Aiavio screened a short documen- 
tary about Bauen Hotel, a hotel occupied 
and managed by workers since 2002, with 
three women from the Bauen in atten- 
dance. Both of the documentaries were 
intended to help the movements realize 
their bonds and unite, 

Grupo Aiavio has also produced short 
news segments for television broadcast. 
The most recent piece is the documen- 
tary, Mujer (Woman), which was part of a 
campaign for the release of two political 
prisoners, Marcela and Carmen, mem- 
bers of the Association of Women 
Prostitutes, who have been in jail for over 
four months after participating in a 
demonstration. The news segment tells of 
their lives in prostitution and how the 
government profits from prostitution. 
The video was recently shown to more 
than 100 people as part of the day against 
violence against women at the Zanon 

As a video collective we become avail- 
able to the demands of organizations and 
often our videos take on a life of their 
own. In addition to our internal and 
external video workshops, Grupo Aiavio 
is building video libraries in the subway 
lines (with transportation workers who 
are organizing a wildcat union), on squat- 
ter's land on the outskirts of Buenos 
Aires, and in factories run by workers. 

Marie Trigona [ ar] is a 
member of Grupo Aiavio []. 
She contributes regularly to ZNet and has 
reported for NACLA Report on the Americas, 
Clamor and Colortines. 


the stations with local programming from 
many different viewpoints. 

As a major concession to the develop- 
ment of indigenous radio, the Colombian 
government was willing to assign radio 
licenses to the Cabildos Gobemadores, 
which are legal indigenous authorities 
recognized by the central government. In 
order to assign radio licenses to the 
Cabildos, which are local government 
entities, the Ministry of Communications 

indigenous communities around infor- 
mation and communication technologies 
in Colombia, For example, indigenous 
leaders have discussed armed conflict 
and the presence of illegal armed groups 
(guerrilla, paramilitaries, drug traffickers) 
close to indigenous radio stations. Also, 
indigenous leaders are suspicious about 
the introduction of modern media in 
indigenous territories in an era of free 
trade agreements. With this short text we 

As a major concession to the development of indigenous radio, 
the Colombian government was willing to assign radio licenses to 
the Cabildos Gobernadores, which are legal indigenous authorities 
recognized by the central government. 

(Planes de Vida), laying out a blueprint for 
the present and the future. Life Plans are 
fundamental to the future of indigenous 
peoples because they embody the collec- 
tive discussions and decisions of their 
communities. The Awas and the 
Guambianos have a clear idea of what to 
do with modern media: these media 
should be introduced only to realize their 
Life Plans. The Life Plan defines the 
parameters for thinking about the role(s) 
of citizens' media in each community. 
The Awas, for example, used their Life 
Plan to address the communication needs 
of two very different communities, result- 
ing in two radio stations which were set 
up to respond to two very different popu- 
lations. One was an AM station entirely in 
indigenous language for the more rural 
and less acculturated Awas in the territo- 
ry; the other was an FM station in Spanish 
for the more mestizo Awas living in the 
urban center. 

In Colombia it is well known that the 
strongest participants of decades-old 
indigenous struggles are the Guambianos 
and Paezes in the south of the coun try. It 
is not surprising then that the 
Guambianos and Paezes have welcomed 
modern media into their political project 
as an important tool that can help them 
reach different goals. First, these indige- 
nous peoples see radio as a technology 
that fascinates young Guambianos and 
Paezes; thus, through radio, older 
Guambianos and Paezes can communi- 
cate tradition, language 5 , music, and 
local wisdom and memory to younger 
members of their communities. Second, 
radio can serve as a means to disseminate 
and fortify local indigenous languages, 
extending them to border territories in 
order to counter intruding languages and 
cultures. Third, given the dispersion of 
their indigenous communities in an enor- 
mous territory, the Guambianos and the 
Paezes see radio as a tool that can help 
overcome long distances, allowing them 
to transmit information, generate debate 
and discussions around key issues, and 
mobilize their communities when neces- 
sary. Currently, Paezes and Guambianos 
have four radio stations and most recently 
they implemented a project to offer train- 
ing in radio production to 8,500 young 
mem b e rs fro mall the indigei l ous com- 
munities in southern Colombia. Their 
goal is to cultivate local radio production 
collectives throughout southern indige- 
nous Colombia; these collectives will feed 


designated these stations as ''public inter- 
est radio," a status that is usually only 
assigned to public entities such as munic- 
ipal governments or public universities. 
This status allows indigenous radio sta- 
tions to broadcast to wider areas than 
would be allowed under the regulations 
for community radio. 

However, we do not want to leave 
readers with the impression that the rela- 
tionship between the Colombian govern- 
ment and Colombian indigenous com- 
munities around radio is entirely harmo- 
nious. The government was unwilling to 
concede on several other issues. First, 
indigenous peoples had requested that 
their radio licenses be assigned as 
" indigenous radio," not as "public interest 
radio," nor as "community radio." They 
wanted to avoid the "public interest" sta- 
tus because it excludes advertising; and 
they wanted to avoid the "community" 
status because it restricts regional cover- 
age. However, the government decided to 
assign the licenses as "public interest 
radio." This status prevents indigenous 
peoples from funding Lheir stations 
through local advertising, forcing them to 
depend on grant moneys and sponsor- 
ships. Also, as with community radio, 
Colombian legislation does not allow 
indigenous radio stations to operate as a 
network. Is there fear that numerous 
small indigenous radio stations will con- 
nect to form a unified indigenous voice? 
(And, that the voice will be spoken in lan- 
guages that outsiders cannot under- 
stand.) Or, are commercial radio stations 
being protected from a competing medi- 
um that could reach large audiences? 

We could go on and on about different 
aspects of the discussion emerging from 

wanted to show the complexity and 
maturity of the discussion and reflection 
around media technologies developed by 
Colombian indigenous peoples. 


1 My office welcomes graduate students, 
researchers, or others wanting to do 
research or internships on any of our citi- 
zens' media projects with different 
Colombian communities. If interested, 
please contact j el gazi@mincultur a. gov. co. 

2 In general I do not find good things to 
say or to write about governments when it 
comes to supporting citizens' media. 
However, if 1 see government initiatives 
that I think are commendable I don't have 
a problem acknowledging it and in the 
case of the Unidad de Radio I am 
impressed. All the text in this article prais- 
ing the Unidad de Radio is my own more 
than Jeanine's, 

3 The total Colombian indigenous popu- 
lation is 708,000 or approximately 1.8 per- 
cent of the total population, 

4 Unidad de Radio (2000). Radios y 
Pueblos [ndigenas. Memorias del 
Encuentro Internacional de Radios 
Indigenas de America. Bogota, Colombia: 
Ministerio de Cultura, p. 70. 

5 There are approximately 59 indigenous 
languages in Colombia classified in 14 
language families. 

Jeanine El Gazii [ is 
with Grupo de Politicas e Investlgaclon (for- 
merly Unidad de Radio), Direccion de Comuni- 
caciones, Ministry of Culture, Colombia. 
Clemencia Rodriguez [] is 
associate professor win the Department of 
Communication, University of Oklahoma. 
This article will be available in Spanish at 
www, commit! it. com/ 1 a/. 

Brazilian Community Radio Under Siege: 
Government Shuts Thousands of Stations 

by Stefania Milan 

Brazil is well known for the longing of 
its people to communicate, for their 
vitality, and ultimately for its leftist 
government ruled by Ignacio Tula' da 
Sifva. Even though its government is con- 
sidered a progressive one, the legislation 
regulating community broadcasting is still 
retrograde, radio activists say. 

Case 1. In August 2004 Radio 
Restinga^ broadcasting from a communi- 
ty center in a low- income Porto Alegre 
neighborhood where 150,000 people live 
in precarious conditions, was shut down 
by the telecommunication regulatory 
agency Anat el 2 . It was the second shut- 
down since 1999, when the station started 
to operate. Ironically the seizure came 
just after the station had been visited by 
about 100 practitioners and researchers 
from the global OurMedia network, who 
praised Radio Restinga 3 as an example of 
a successful community channel combin- 
ing participation and social promotion. 

Case 2. In October 2004 the communi- 
ty radio station Uniao FM 4 , operating in 
Guaiulhos (Sao Paulo), was shut down 
and five operators were arrested and 
accused of "clandestine communication;" 
"conspiracy" and "endangerment of air- 
craft." (The Sao Paulo International 
Airport Is nearby.) Paradoxically, Anatel 
officers were not looking for Uniao FM, 
but for another station. They shut down 
Uniao anyway, seizing the equipment 

Case 3. The Association of Community 
Radio and Television Stations of the 
Sisaleiro area, near Salvador de Bahia, 
includes 16 radio stations. Only two have 
governmental authorization to operate. 
One of them, Radio Valente FM 5 , was 
recently legalized after months of repres- 
sion. One night police officers arrived at 
the station asking to enter, but without 
identifying themselves as policemen. The 
radio operator, afraid of thieves, would 
not open the door. The police destroyed a 
wall and the door, and started to beat the 
operator, it was a shock for the whole 

Unfortunately these are not isolated 
cases. "Violence and unconstitutional 

i went to Restinga, set up their equipment in the little square during the Saturday market, 
and invited people to take the microphone. 

"Violence and unconstitu- 
tional practices against 
community radio are usual in 
Brazil," said activist Thiago 
from Radio Muda, a universi- 
ty station broadcasting from 
Campinas in the Sao Paulo 
region that has been closed 

twice by police- 
practices against community radio are 
usual in Brazil," said activist Thiago from 
Radio Mu da, a university station broad- 
casting from Campinas in the Sao Paulo 
region that has been closed twice by 

It is estimated that there are between 
5,000 and 10,000 community radio sta- 
tions in Brazil, but the regulatory body 
Anatel recognizes only 2,620 active radio 
channels, including community radio; 
another 1,270 are waiting for approval. 
The rest, considered illegal, are persecut- 
ed. The operators are jailed and often 
they are accused of "conspiracy/' 

The Community Radio Law 6 created 
in 1998 under the presidency of Fernando 

Henrique Cardoso, currently regulates 
community broadcasting. It fixes die 
maximum strength of community radio 
transmitters at 25 watts, limiting stations 
to a reach of one km. The law also pre- 
vents community radio stations from car- 
rying advertising or belonging to a net- 
work. If a community broadcaster inter- 
feres in the operation of a commercial 
station, it can be shut down, but the law 
cannot be applied in reverse. In March 
2004 a federal resolution allocated only 
one frequency— from 87.4 to 87.8 FM— for 
community broadcasting in the entire 
country, which has the world s fifth largest 
area and a population of about 170 mil- 
lion people. 

Anatel has enforced the law by closing 
"clandestine" channels, by asking federal 
police to seize broadcasting equipment, 
and by arresting station operators. About 
12,900 community radio stations have 
been shut down and equipment worth $3 
million from 117,755 operations has been 
confiscated since 1998, according to 
police figures. In the same period prose- 
cutors have launched 10,142 trials against 
"illegal" radio stations, and courts have 
convicted 3,600 people under the res trie- 


tive community broadcasting legislation. 
In the first three months of 2004, 696 sta- 
tions were denounced as not authorised 
to broadcast, 1,482 were denounced for 
interference, and 862 were shut down. 

Paradoxically, the Brazilian Federal 
Constitution, signed in 1988, considers 
communication a fundamental human 
right. Article 5 says, "the expression of 
intellectual, artistic, scientific and com- 
munication activity is free and independ- 
ent from censorship or license." The 
Brazilian case is unusual in Latin 
America; other countries, except Chile, 
have more permissive legislation where 
restrictions only address the maximum 
strength of the radio transmitters. 

"The Brazilian government has no 
political will to create good conditions for 
community media. Since long ago, the 

"We are asking the government to 'repair' the situation 
created by this repressive legislation and to stop all the 
court cases against community radio operators. We want 
to dialogue with the government to change the legisla- 
tion," said Sofia Hammoe from AM ARC Brasil. at Restinga. 

government has not given permission to 
operate community channels," Restinga's 
coordinator Marisa Godinho said. But this 
aggressive repression did not prevent 
people from operating their community 
channels. "Laws are not a problem 
because they have to adapt themselves to 
our practices. The right of expression is a 
fundamental human right," said Chico 
Caminati from Radio Mucla. 

Radio Muda is part 7 , 
the network of Brazilian free radio sta- 
tions created after the third World Social 
Forum was held in Porto Alegre in January 
2003. (The radiolivre website provides 
worldwide web streaming for local sta- 
tions, allowing them to reach the rest of 
the world.) Often activists take the streets 
to 'give people voice' and encourage peo- 
ple to operate their own channels, show- 


ing people how easy and inexpensive a 
radio station can be. "We have to change 
the way citizens conceive their relation- 
ship with media. We should be active par- 
ticipants in communications and stop 
being passive listeners/' said Juliana 
Vergueiro from 

In November 2004 the World 
Association of Community Radio 
Broadcasters (AMARC) 8 organized a sem- 
inar in Brasilia on community radio legis- 
lation, denouncing the undemocratic 

policies of the fed- 
eral government 
and the violent 
repression of com- 
munity radio by the 
Brazilian police. 
There is no efficient 
structure for deal- 
ing with the high 
number of requests 
for a licence, 
AMARC said. The 
association is pres- 
suring the govern- 
ment to have the 
right to communi- 
cate recognized as a 
human right. "We 
are asking the gov- 
ernment to 'repair' 
the situation created by this repressive 
legislation and to stop all the court cases 
against community radio operators. We 
want to dialogue with the government to 
change the legislation," said Sofia 
Hammoe from AMARC Brasil. 

Things seem to be slowly changing. 
The local authorities of Campinas, 
Itabuna and Bahia have approved a more 
permissive local legislation, which was 
permitted by the federal constitution, 
enabling community radio stations to 
operate in their territories. Moreover, 
responding to a claim from communities 
that suffered violent repression, in 
October 2004 the federal government cre- 
ated an inter-ministerial working group to 
deal with the situation of community sta- 
tions in Brazil. "For several years during 
the dictatorship community radio sta- 

tions were seen as a threat, because they 
were difficult to control by the central 
power. And this idea has persisted," 
Claudio Prado, coordinator of the Digital 
Policies of the Ministry of Culture and 
member of the working group, said in an 
interview to the news agency Agenda 
Brasil. "The violent behavior of the police 
is a cultural heritage of the dictatorship," 
Prado added. 

Despite this good news, the struggle 
for legalization of Brazilian community 
radio looks to be long and difficult. But 
we all can contribute. "An international 
mobilization could help by lobbying the 
politicians, supporting the stations, and 
sharing skills to empower the Brazilian 
movement," Sofia Hammoe said. 

Stefania Milan [5milan@ips.0rg] is an Italian 
freelance researcher on civil society media. 
She also writes for the global news agency 
Inter Press Service ( This 
article is partly taken from the stories 
Stefania wrote in July-August 2004 reporting 
for IPS on the repression of community radio 
in Brazil. Contact AMARC Brasil at 


1 (in Portuguese) 

2 (in 

3 OurMedia is a global network of 
activists and researchers concerned with 
alternative and citizens' media. See For a report from 
the annual meeting, held in Porto Alegre 
(Brazil) in July 2004, sec the article horn 
Janice K. Wind borne in the International 
Association for Media and Communica- 
tion Research newsletter: 

www. iamcr. netZpdflokt2004.pdf 

4 www. portaldeguaru Ihos. 
uniaofm.htm (in Portuguese) 

5 www.ppp. ch/ cms/ article. php3 ?id_arti- 
cle-528 (in French) 

6 br /index. asp?link=/hib- 
lioteca/regu lamen tos/regula_ mc/regu la_ser 
v_radio_comun.htm (in Portuguese) 

7 www. radiolivre. org (in Portuguese) 


U.S. Community Media Center Lends 
a Helping Hand to Ghana's Ga District 

by Robert J. Heys 

When Grand Rapids, Michigan and 
the Ga District of Ghana became 
Sister Cities in 1994, there were cul- 
tural differences, to be sure, however their 
populations were both approximately 
175,000, A mere decade later, the popula- 
tion of Grand Rapids had increased to 
225,000 while the population of the Ga 
District had soared to 600,000. As is often 
the case in developing countries, popula- 
tion increases are the result of migration 
from rural areas to urban ones. The popu- 
lation growth has been so dramatic that 
the demand and need for services has 
become especially challenging for a 
nation that is struggling to be a democra- 
cy. Community radio is one of those serv- 
ices that an economically challenged 
Ghana is trying to develop. 

Located adjacent to Accra, the capital 
city of Ghana, the Ga District is situated 
on the Adantic coastline within miles of 
picturesque ocean frontage. Its close prox- 
imity to such beauty is overshadowed by 
the grit of a city whose infrastructure is 
not keeping pace with its population 
growth. Every task becomes complicated 
by outdated telecommunications systems 
or overburdened roads in need of repair. 

Sister Cities is an international organi- 
zation of cultural, civic and economic 
exchange. Grand Rapids has several sister 
city relationships, each different in mis- 
sion and membership. When members 
from our Ga District Sister City visited 
Grand Rapids in 2003, they found a tour of 
the Grand Rapids Community Media 
Center to be a highlight and immediately 
saw potential benefits to having the same 
services available in their city. 

Although English is the official lan- 
guage of Ghana, only 50 percent of the 
people speak it. Ga leaders thought that 
being able to provide radio programming 
in the Ga language would reach far more 
people, particularly recent arrivals from 
rural areas. In addition, information could 
be disseminated to those who were not 

My involvement began in January 
2004. A request was sent to all the volun- 
teers at our community radio station, 

WYCE 88. 1 FM, asking for assistance with 
the Ghana community radio project. After 
three years of working programming, the 
opportunity to be a part of other aspects 
of community radio was intriguing. The 
challenge of working on a project so far 
away — geographically, socially and philo- 
sophically, only increased the appeal 

A trip was planned to Ghana, led by 
our mayor, to mark the 10 -year anniver- 
sary of our Sister City relationship. It was a 
convenient opportunity for me to become 
acquainted with the Ga District and the 
people on that side of the ocean who were 

There are obvious barriers to working 
on a project in an unfamiliar place thou- 
sands of miles away. Communication is 
complicated by the lack of a sophisticated 
telecommunications system. In Ghana, 
access to the internet is limited to internet 
cafes. Well-marked signs and advertising 
for "Telecommunication Centers" lead to 
an individual under a kiosk with a lone 
cell phone! 

Even faxing our itinerary and arrang- 
ing hotel stays was complicated, requiring 
that our fax, sent to one location, be hand 
couriered to another, then either officially 
received or left to sit unrecognized for 
hours — or days! This is how communica- 
tion happens in Ghana, and other parts of 
Africa, Asia, and even Europe. 

Once inside Ghana, though, it was a 
relief to find boundless enthusiasm for the 
community media center project and a 
commitment from the people of the Ga 

District. My fear had been that we were 
working towards something that was of 
great interest to us, but of only a passing 
interest to them. In various informal and 
formal meetings it was expressed to me, 
time and again, that there was a need for 
community radio, far surpassing what I 
had expected. In addition to their interest 
in community radio, Ga District leaders 
wanted to build a community multimedia 
center with a computer lab and eventually 
a community television station. The 
increase in the scope of the project, while 
intriguing, added to the complexity and 
challenge. Additional equipment, space 
and training would be needed. 

Our local community radio station in 
Grand Rapids is devoted almost exclusive- 
ly to entertainment in the form of music. 
Their station would be more diverse. In 
addition to providing entertainment, they 

i needed to focus on cultural issues, educa- 
tion and health information. 

Programming on other radio stations 
in the Ga District is mostly composed of 
foreign content. Although people enjoy 
hearing from and about the rest of the 
world, they also want to be connected 
with their community and country 7 . 

Community radio will offer a rare 
opportunity to develop and support the 
local culture. Although entertainment 
may seem frivolous, in a country with so 
few diversions from daily life, community 
radio entertainment is a valuable — and 
affo rdabl e— co mmod ity. 

Health information will be particularly 
important. With an average life expectan- 
cy of only 52, it is rare to see an elderly 

; person on the street in Ghana. The cost of 
health care is prohibitively high for the 

I vast majority of the population, so treat- 
able diseases often become terminal ill- 
nesses. For many people, health informa- 
tion is their health care. 

One of the challenges of dealing with 
an undeveloped country is the temptation 
to make assumptions. Nothing can be 
taken for granted in Ghana. Even budget- 
ing is askew from our perspective. For 
example, the cost structure in Ghana is 
very different from that in the United 
States. Monthly Internet service in Ghana 


is $300 usd versus service here that is ten 
times faster for $30! Conversely, con- 
structing a small building to house the 
station will cost approximately usd 
$5,000. Initial budgeting has indicated 
that a 10 00 -watt station, enough to cover 
the geographical area of the Ga District; 
can be built for less than $125,000 usd. In 
the United States, expenditures would be, 
at minimum, three times that. 

As in every humanitarian effort in our 
current economic environment, initial 
funding and sustainability for this project 
will be difficult The United Nations 
Education Scientific and Cultural 
Organization (UNESCO) is an ardent sup- 
porter of this type of endeavor and we 
anticipate our initial funding to come 
from them. (UNESCO has launched a 
community' multimedia centers initiative 
and has released a handbook, How to 
Start and Keep Going: A Guide to 
Community Multimedia Centres,) 

In addition, local Ga District business 
people have expressed the desire to con- 
tribute to the sustainability of the station 
and nominal fees charged for internet 
service at the media center would offset 
costs of maintaining the station. An ongo- 
ing program of grant writing to interna- 

tional foundations that support the con- 
cept of community media will be under- 
taken as well. 

As of this writing, a nongovernmental 
organization is in the process of being 
formed in Ghana. This NGO will be called 
Ga District Sisters Cities International 
and will be the owner of the community 
multimedia center. Once the NGO has 
been formed, an application for a fre- 
quency license can be filed and the 
search for funding can begin. Given the 
inherent coordination difficulties that are 
associated with international projects, it 
may be optimistic to believe that we can 
begin broadcasting by the end of 2005. 

But, the project will not lose momen- 
tum. We were convinced of that, when, in 
October, the equivalent of our mayor, the 
Honorable Samuel Attoh, District Chief 
Executive of the Ga District, made a brief 
Sister City visit to Grand Rapids. Mr. Attoh 
is a chief proponent of locating a commu- 
nity media center in his district. During 
his visit, he spent a morning touring the 
Grand Rapids Community Media Center. 

Mr. Attoh is currently campaigning for 
a scat in the Ghana Parliament where he 
would represent the Ga District on a 
national level. He continues to express his 

enthusiasm for this project and asks to be 
kept fully informed of the progress, while 
opening doors to potential grassroots 
contributors and leadership. 

Throughout the world, there are many 
reasons to advocate for community 
media. Community multimedia centers 
allow us to exercise our Article 19 of the 
Universal Declaration of Human Rights 
/ www. umorgl Overview! 'rights, html] to 
freedom of opinion and expression. They 
offer us the escape of listening Lo a beau- 
tiful piece of music. And, they allow us to 
receive information that would not be 
viable to produce and disseminate com- 

The common thread is that communi- 
ty multimedia centers build community 
through media and enhance the potential 
for true democracy. Fundamentally, a 
community media center gives everyone 
the ability to touch the rest of the world, 
whether a continent or a tribe away. For 
that reason community multimedia cen- 
ters are vitally important. 

Robert J. Heys [] is a 
Grand Rapids Community Media Center 
volunteer and treasurer of Grand Rapids 
Sister Cities International, An accountant 
by trade, he has traveled widely in China, 
Russia and Eastern Europe. 

A|Mance^or Commuiucations Democracy 

For more than 15 years, the Alliance for Communications Democracy has been pghting to preserve and 
strengthen access Though the odds against us have been high, ana' the mega-media, corporate foes well- 
heeled and powerful, time and again we've won In the courts. We can't continue this critical work without 
your support. With the ramifications of the 19% Telecommunications Act still manifesting themselves, and 
new legislation on the horizon, we must be vigilant if we are to prevail and preserve democratic communi- 
cations. If not us, who? if not now, when? Please join the Alliance for Communications Democracy today! 

Become an Alliance Subscriber for $350/year and receive detailed reports on current 
court cases threatening access, pertinent historical case citations, and other Alliance for 
Communications Democracy activities. 

> Voting membership open to nonprofit access operations for an annual contribution of $3,000. 

> Assoicate, Supporter and Subscriber memberships available to organizations and individuals at 
the following levels: 

> Alliance Associate $2500 - copies of all briefs and reports. 
> Alliance Supporter $500 - copies of ail reports and enclosures. 
• Alliance Subscriber $350 - copies of ail reports. 

Direct membership inquiries to ACD Treasurer Sam Behrend, Access Tucson, 124 E. Broadway Blvd. 
Tucson, AZ 85701, telephone 520.624.9833, or email at 


Making a Home in Australia: 
Ethnic Access, Training and Funding 

According to Australia's Community Broadcasting Foundation 
(CBF), there are 75 stations (35 metropolitan and 40 regional) 
providing more than 1,200 hours per week of local programming 
in 86 languages. 

by Saba El-Ghul 

The beginning of ethnic broadcasting 
in Australia goes back to 1973, when 
ethnic communities began to work 
together with sections of the wider 
Australian community, throwing their 
considerable strength and influence into 
campaigns for access to the nation's air- 
waves. As a result of their activism, the 
Australian Broadcasting Corporation 
(ABC), a national broadcaster, was 
encouraged by the Whitlam Labour gov- 
ernment to open the first ethnic 'access' 
station in Melbourne in 1975. Today 
many community stations provide ethnic 
access programming. According to 
Australia's Community Broadcasting 
Foundation (CBF), there are 75 stations 
(35 metropolitan and 40 regional) provid- 
ing more than 1,200 hours per week of 
local programming in 86 languages. 

The Australian government provides 
funding to ethnic community broadcast- 
ers through the Community Broadcasting 
Foundation. To comply with CBF's funding 
guidelines, ethnic programming must be 
mainly in a language other than English, 
contain no more than 50 percent music 
content, have a spoken word content of no 
more than 25 percent religious material or 
references, be produced locally under the 
auspices of a recognized local ethnic com- 
munity language group and broadcast 
between 6:00 a.m. and midnight. 

Currently a major issue affecting com- 
munity broadcasting in Australia is the 
drop in government financial support 
(through the CBF) for community radio. 
Practitioners are concerned about 
whether funding will continue for training 
courses that prepare migrant communi- 
ties to establish their own ethnic pro- 
grams. This is a crucial issue, as it is the 
new and small communities that are most 
in need of a broadcast program to keep 
them in touch with their homeland, 
Australian society and each other. 

The Australian Ethnic Radio Training 
Program (AERTP) is in the last stages of 
government funding and must now seek 
alternative sources to continue the deliv- 
ery of training. The AERTP is funded by 
the federal government in three grant 

rounds per year, enabling community sta- 
tions to run three training courses annu- 
ally with a minimum of 12 students per 
course. There are two levels for every 
round: (1) Certificate II, a beginners' 
course, includes various broadcasting 
skills such as studio use and recording, 
radio interviewing, and broadcast law and 
editing; and (2) Certificate III, an 
advanced course, teaches program 
research skills, news and current affairs, 
bilingual broadcasting, and other tech- 
niques. The training is supervised through 
the National Ethnic and Multicultural 
Broadcasters' Council (NEMBC) and falls 
under the training coordination of the 
Community Broadcasting Association of 
Australia (CBAA). The instructors are 
trained and certified by the CBAA and are 
paid from the AERTP grants. 

The AERTP course is a well- developed, 
nationally recognized, government- fund- 
ed broadcast training program. But the 
future of AERTP is uncertain as govern- 
ment funding for the project is drying up. 
One possible new source of funding is 
user fees, in which trainees would pay a 
fee in return for the training. However it is 
debatable to what extent this could be 
possible, as new migrant communities do 


Australian Broadcasting Corporation 
(ABC) www.obc. net. au 

Community Broadcasting Foundation 

National Ethnic nnd Multicultural 
Broadcasters' Council (NEMBC) 

Community Broadcasting Association 
of Australia (CBAA),au 
Department of Immigration, 
Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs 
( 1 3 1 M I A) ww w. dim au 

not have the means or the community 
power to support the establishment of an 
ethnic program. According to Indira 
Narayan, broadcasting project officer for 
the New, Emerging and Refugee 
Communities— Outreach, Training and 
Broadcasting at the NEMBC, if is not fair, 
and it contradicts the purposes of the pro- 
gram, to ask future broadcasters, who are 
investing their time and effort as volun- 
teers, to pay for their training. 

3CR is a community radio station in 
Melbourne with an active training pro- 
gram for emerging communities. The free 
training, provided by the Department of 
Immigration, Multicultural and Indigenous 
Affairs f (DIMJA) co m rn u n i ty gran ts p ro - 
gram, is available for groups who would 
like to broadcast in their community lan- 
guage. There is a special grant available for 
new migrant and refugee community radio 
programs. The grant covers program mate- 
rial, equipment, specialized training, trav- 
el, and other expenses. Ongoing funding is 
also available for communities with non- 
English language programs. 

The program at 3CR shows that con- 
tinued funding for training is important to 
ensure that Australia's new ethnic com- 
munities have access to the airwaves. 
Given that these new producers come pri- 
marily from small and emerging commu- 
nities, it is difficult to ask them to sponsor 
their own training. The government 
should continue to provide new migrant 
communities with funds for training and 
programming to assist them in having a 
voice and to preserve the diversity of 
Australia's multicultural society, 

Saba El-Ghul] has 
worked internationally as a journalist and radio 
broadcaster, and in Australia as an administra- 
tor, broadcaster and trainer in community 
radio. She has completed her first M.A. on 
community radio analysis and her second M.A. 
thesis on community media policy. She is cur- 
rently a lecturer in Communications and Media 
Studies at Monash University in Australia. 


Public Access and the Preservation of 
Deaf Culture: An Open and Closed Case? 

Although public access channels are thus far exempt from the 
captioning provisions of the FCC, the Americans with Disabilities 
Act mandates accessible practices in employment, public facilities 
and communications services, to the degree that they reasonably 
can be supported. 

by Mary Brady 

Since the passage of the Television 
Decoder Circuitry Act in 1993 all tele- 
vision sets produced or sold in the 
U.S. (with a 13-inch or larger display) 
have been required to be caption- capa- 
ble. Until the advent of menu -driven 
playback or display features, however, a 
special piece of hardware (the "Fred" 
decoder) was necessary to display any 
captions present in the broadcast signal. 
About as big as a DVD/VHS player, and at 
a cost of about $50, "Fred" decoders were 
sold almost exclusively to deaf and hard- 
of- hearing (HOH) families. They were 
notably absent in schools, colleges, 
libraries and other public places, but it 
didn't matter too much, as there really 
wasn't a lot of captioning available to 
decode, anyway 

Now, fast forward a decade or so, to 
today. The era of ubiquitous captioning is 
upon us. Captions have come into their 
own and are present on most DVD pro- 
grams, numerous public television pre- 
sentations, and many news and public 
information programs in the top TV mar- 
kets. In particularly deaf-conscious areas, 
say around the Gallaudet College campus 
in Washington, DC, you can even find 
them gracing special viewing devices in 
movie theaters and museum exhibits. The 

FCC has mandated that by 2006, 100 per- 
cent of locally-produced programs will be 
captioned in the top 25 markets. 
Broadcasters are already gearing up to 
address these requirements with spon- 
sored captioning for local news and infor- 
mation programs, even in smaller mar- 

"The Caption Center predicted that 
every home in the United States wall have 
a caption -cap able television set by the 
year 2000. We're certainly not there yet, 
but we're mighty close...," says Gary 
Rob son. (See resources at end.) 

So, what's being done with captioning 
in the world of community media? 
Although public access channels are thus 
far exempt from the captioning provi- 
sions of the FCC, the Americans with 
Disabilities Act mandates accessible prac- 
tices in employment, public facilities and 
communications services, to the degree 
that they reasonably can be supported. In 
community media environments across 

the country it would appear that a fair 
amount of attention is being paid to 
accessible programming — even in the 
absence of funding and government 
mandates! The Alliance's 2003 
Community Media Resource Directory 
shows 34 community access centers and 
organizations providing captioning serv- 
ices, ranging in expenditure from $500 to 
$115,000 per year! Even so, accessible, i.e. 
captioned, programming for deaf and 
HOH audiences represents a very small 
portion of the available programming 
from public access channels. Why? One 
can imagine the causes and suggest some 
possible approaches to expanding the 
portion of accessible programming. 

Cost. An hour of realtime (live) cap- 
tioning runs from $75-$125/hour. 

Availability of trained captioners. 
Although 20 new programs have come 
into existence at colleges and universities 
across the country to offer broadcast cap- 
tioning training as a specialty subset of 

Hillsborough County, Florida Takes a Different Tact 

Fremont, California is the first city in the United States to 
provide realtime captioning for all city council and school 
board meetings. There is, however, a county government that 
has been up and running with realtime captions for public 
meetings for somewhat longer— with a decidedly different 

Frank Turano, of Hillsborough County, Florida, decided 
that if he was going to implemen t captioning he was going to 
do it full-bore. The city has hired several full-time court 
reporters and uses them in rotation for meetings. There are 
monitors spaced around the room that display open captions, 
and the meeting is cabiecast with captions on the local 
Government Access television station. The meetings are also 
taped, complete with time codes to synchronize the text in the 

computer to the video. 

The court reporters edit the captions, providing a clean 
verbatim transcript and place these on the videotape in place 
of the original captions. The meeting is then rebroadcast sev- 
eral days later with open captions, and the tape is placed in a 
research room, 

A computer in the research room running Cheetah soft- 
ware has all of the transcripts on its hard disk. Any transcript 
can be called up and viewed, and the person using the room 
can select sections of the text and ask to see the corresponding 
video. The system asks the person to insert the appropriate 
tape, and plays that section using a computer- controlled 
videotape machine. 



The Media Access Group at WGBH provides a concise description of the spectrum of 
captioning services that help to make television and movies accessible to the deaf, 
hard-of-hearing and non-English speaking public, as well as audiences in non-audi- 
tory environments at h ttp:!!main. wgbh. org! wgbh!pages! mag! services! captioning!. 

A thorough history of captioning; the career of realtime reporting, and professional 
resources for court reporters/broadcast captioners is available from Gary Robson at 

A good primer on deaf culture can be found at 

h ttp:!!deafness. abo u t com! cs! deaf cultu re!a!deafcultu rel 01 . h tm. 

The federal government, through the Office of Special Education Research, funds at 
least one national grant program aimed at increasing the quantity and quality of 
broadcast captioning: www.!programs!oseptms!2004-32 7c. pdf 

Integral Design, LLC, provides consultation on wayfinding, accessible media and 
exhibits, as well as funding and design of diverse disability-related programs at 
www. IDimpact. com. 

skills for court reporting students (ste- 
nographers), many of these students will 
not be available for employment for 
years. In many states, services are con- 
tracted non -locally, adding to the expense 
and difficulty of procuring such services. 

Demand. Deaf and HOH audiences 
tend to be "invisible" to broadcasters and 
public access operations. They are often 
isolated within their own communities, 
and rely upon working, living and social- 
izing in a deaf world, separated from their 
peers in the hearing community in sepa- 
rate schools, clubs and churches that 
cater to their communication needs by 
offering sign language interpretation in 
limited settings. 

So, why should provision of captioned 
programming be a priority for public 

With the graying of our population, 
more people are living with deafness 
longer. The relative portion of the general 
audience that could benefit from caption- 
ing is growing. 

The deaf and HOH population is only 
a segment of the public audience that 
could be served by ubiquitous captioning. 
Think about the last time that you sat 
mulling over your last board meeting in a 
noisy bar. Couldn't hear a thing, could 
you? Captioning makes programming 
accessible in noisy public environ- 
ments—the Paris Metro, the windows of 
your favorite electronics store, or the 
neighborhood tavern. 

Television audio and video messages 
are only partially understood by those 
with limited English comprehension. 
Captions can promote language learning 
in our increasingly multicultural, linguis- 
tically diverse society. 

Once audio material is transcribed to 
textual material, it can more readily be 
offered in alternate languages. The pres- 
ence of English captioning promotes 
English literacy, and supports and rein- 
forces auditory comprehension of 

Having a textual transcript of an audio 
program translates well to internet- based 
public information sources. Text is 
searchable; audio is not. Text can be con- 
veyed on a narrow bandwidth using low- 
end equipment; audio cannot. Imagine 
that lengthy city council meeting being 
available as searchable text on your pub- 
lic access website the very next morning. 
Captioning could significantly expand the 

reach of government and educational 
access programming. 

Possible Approaches to Public Access 
Captioning. Don't try to do it "on the 
cheap." This is not an area for the 
employment of even well- trained volun- 
teers. Captioning, like sign language 
interpretation, is not for amateurs. 
Buying a character generator and putting 
a fast typist in your control room will not 
provide acceptable captioning to your 
deaf and HOH audience. Not even close. 
Even captioning students may be 
employed only for capt ioning of pre- 
recorded programs, with professional 
supervision. If you are lucky enough to 
obtain some volunteer time from highly 
sought-after, busy, certified court 
reporters /broadcast captioners— go for it. 
You can contact them through the 
National Association of Court Reporters 
(www. ncraonline. org!). 

Do query your state associations of 
the deaf/ HOH (separate organizations). 
See if they are interested in helping you to 
obtain sponsors for captioning some seg- 
ment of your public access programming 
schedule. In fact, see if you can include 
some members of these groups among 
yourvideography students, board mem- 
bers and volunteers. They are your best 
source of information as to how to obtain 
interpretation, captioning, and how to 
use the Telephone Relay Service or email 
to communicate with them. 

Look for opportunities to secure pri- 
vate or public, local or national funding 
for a pioneering program to serve your 
Deaf and HOH public. Form a consor- 
tium with other public access leaders. 
Funding is available and innovators at 
the National Center for Accessible 
Media, community colleges and private 
entrepreneurs are eating up the pie 
without any help from public access tel- 
evision organizations. 

Mary Brady, former student of Nick Johnson, 
dabbler in public access and cable televi- 
sion, and a founding member of the National 
Federation of Local Cable Programmers (now 
the Alliance), has since digressed into areas 
of communication disorders, adaptive tech- 
nology, disability access, governmental fund- 
ing and other dark corners of private sector 
enterprise. She resides in Baltimore, 
Maryland, from whence she swoops down on 
rare occasions to nudge, critique and other- 
wise amuse herself in the provision of con- 
sulting services to the arts and nonprofit 
sectors. Contact her via the web at 


Media Literacy & Health CD-ROM 
in Spanish Breaks New Ground 


by Damon Scott 

[hen folks find out we've pro- 
duced this resource they 're 
really not surprised. They're 
motivated and excited, but not sur- 
prised." So says Bob McCannon, 
executive director of the New Mexico 
Media Literacy Project, (NMMLP) a 
long-time teacher and media activist 
based in Albuquerque, New Mexico. 

Consider the facts: Latinos are 
this country's fastest growing minor- 
ity — the figure at roughly 39 million 
and rising quickly. In states such as 
New Mexico, California and Hawaii, 
there are now minority- majorities — 
meaning all minorities combined out- 
number Anglos as a percentage of the 
population. As can be expected, Spanish 
language mass media has boomed as 
well. The circulation of Spanish language 
dailies has more than tripled since 1990. 
And perhaps more importantly for media 
literacy educators, ad revenues for those 
dailies have grown more than seven -fold 
since that time. When we look at the 
Spanish language broadcast industry the 
growth is even more spectacular — with 
companies such as Univision, Telemundo, 
and the Hispanic Broadcasting 
Corporation doing multi-billion dollar 
business. The ad revenue for broadcast- 
ers, like print media, has exploded. 

As an organization dedicated to the 
de construction of media messages, pri- 
marily through advertisements, 
McCannon and his NMMLP staff saw a 
need. "This is an opportunity for outreach 
to Spanish-speaking communities not 


only in New Mexico, but the country and 
abroad/' says McCannon. The idea was 
reinforced and supported by the New 
Mexico Department of Health, within its 
Tobacco Use Prevention and Control 
Program — part of the department's Public 
Health Division. The agreement that was 
reached between the NMDOII and 
NMMLP allows the distribution of the 
CD-ROM at no charge to those who 
request it. (See side bar below.) 

The result: Medios y remedies, (MYR) 
the world's first Spanish language CD- 
ROM curriculum, dedicated to Spanish- 
spcaking communities and focused pri- 
marily on health issues. The CD-ROM 
technology allows teachers, healLh profes- 
sionals, media producers, and activists to 
present media and health lessons to vir- 
tually anyone willing to listen. 

Antonio Lopez is a self-described "dig- 
ital nomad" who recently moved from 
Santa Fe to New York City. He says he is a 
digital nomad because he travels from 

The New Mexico Media Literacy Project 

Since 1993, the New Mexico Media Literacy Project (NMMLP), an outreach 
project of Albuquerque Academy, has brought the media literacy message to hun- 
dreds of thousands of children and adults across New Mexico and the nation. 

We provide dynamic speakers, multimedia workshops, and unique videos and 
CD-ROMs on a variety of media literacy topics. Our goal is to make New Mexico the 
most media literate state in the United States, leading a cultural revolution for the 
health of our children and the health of our democracy. 

To order free copies of Medios y remedies, please visit our website at Click on the "Products' 1 link, and then "Multimedia." Prom the 
multimedia page you will see directions on how to place your order. 

place to place to work with Native 
American tribes and bilingual com- 
munities to teach digital video pro- 
duction, and to assist those commu- 
nities in developing their own health 
perspective on media. f T like to use 
Spanish media examples with bilin- 
gual Latino students because they 
identify with the cultural product," 
says Lopez. "They know Tec ate is a 
Mexi can beer. Medios y remedies is a 
good resource because it is culturally 
specific and seems to get the atten- 
tion of Latino students better than 
media that features mainly white 

Sidney Cano of Mexico City was intro- 
duced to the CD-ROM at a conference 
there a little over a year ago. " Medios y 
remedies is a sign of the international 
necessity of being critical receptors — a 
necessity that has spread all over the 
world." Cano goes on to say that she has 
used the material to work to get better 
television programs in Mexico, and that 
many international organizations have 
been in contact with her showing interest 
in the product and how she is using it. 

Designed to be used in classrooms, 
family discussions and other group set- 
tings, the CD-ROM especially helps teens 
to become more critical consumers of 
media, so they can make more informed 
choices about their health. MYR exam- 
ines media messages about tobacco, alco- 
hol and other drugs, nutrition, physical 
activity relationships and sexuality, and 
violence. It features 66 Spanish language 
media examples from magazines, televi- 
sion show's and movies. Questions and 
answers accompany each media example, 
highlighting the explicit and implied mes- 
sages, the persuasion techniques used, 
and how the media example might influ- 
ence a young person's health decisions. 

"We are the most hyper-mediated 
society in history. This is a resource that 
helps to make sense of it all, and we hope 
folks will take advantage of it," said 

Damon Scott is director of community out- 
reach for the New Mexico Media Literacy 



from the 


This special section 
showcases a community 
of producers who come 
from places as close as the 
next neighborhood and as 
far away as Brazil Haiti, 
Vietnam, and Japan. They 
speak from viewpoints as 
diverse as youth, seniors, 
workers, artists, activists, 
and tribal members. 
Reading their profiles 
is both liberating and 
inspiring. Their stories 
and programs can help 
explode our stereotypes, 
illustrate our differences, 
and celebrate our com- 
mon humanity. By 
amplifying the voices and 
views of these producers, 
community channels offer 
a contribution to the 
media landscape that is 
far more diverse than the 
often-touted universe of 
multi-channel commer- 
cial media "choices" 

Julio Wainer 

Spreading the spirit of 
community media in Brazil 

[ovies were an old passion. When I was 13 
years old I went across the city to watch 
an old classic silent film. Neverthe-less, I 
didn't study cinema. At the end of the 
1970s, working in movies wasn't a solid 
career, and I decided to study Architecture 
and Urbanism, as a tool to understand — 
and work on—the social problems that sur- 
rounded my hometown, Sao Paulo, Brazil 
the third largest city in 
the world. I was amazed 
by its gigantic urban 
growth from 30,000 to 
seven million people in 
100 years. 

At the beginning of 
the 1980s, good news 
came from two sources: 
the dictatorial regime 
that was ruling Brazil 
began to open up and 
allow more freedoms and 
videocassette technology 
was introduced with its 
many possibilities, I set 
up a small video busi- 
ness with school friends, aiming to produce 
programs about social /urban issues. 

At that time commercial TV was 
absolutely closed to independents and 
there were no distribution options for alter- 
native programs. But in 1984 the Brazilian 
Association for Popular Video (ABVP) was 
created to support people and organiza- 
tions in producing socially relevant videos. 

During that same year I met Professor 
George Stoney, who became a very impor- 
tant person in my life. He came to Brazil 
through a Fulbright Program to spread the 
word about using media for social change. I 
was a video engineer at Catholic University 
and, after his brief visit, I forged the idea 
that has guided my work ever since: that 
social change can be achieved using video 
as an empowering tool for communities. 
Using video, communities can better see 
themselves, their goals, their allies, and 
their adversaries. We "middle- class out- 
siders" can be of some help as they are clar- 
ifying their identity and establishing a 
meaning and direction for their actions. At 
the same time, we can allow ourselves to be 
transformed by the people and reality we 

It turned out that my philosophy closely 
matched the philosophy of Brazilian educa- 

tor Paulo Freire, who I had the opportunity 
to meet years later in a joint effort with 
George Stoney. Freire championed the role 
of education in helping poor and oppressed 
people to improve their lives and the world. 
Better conditions could emerge, he 
believed, in a dialogue where educators and 
students would play both roles in order to 
understand the complex reality that sur- 
rounds us. 

With help from George Stoney I 
received a Fulbright grant and visited 15 
states in the U.S. to study community TV 
and how documentaries 
could be used as effec- 
tive tools for social 
change. When I returned 
to Brazil I dedicated sev- 
eral years to spreading 
the word about commu- 
nity TVJ which was finally 
legislated in 1995. The 
new law mandated six 
channels for public 
access, but no funding. 
Community TV spread 
throughout the country 
in a flash, and the lead- 
ing media activists from 
the 1980s were elected to 
executive positions. Our hopes and ideas 
for a better world quickly became public 
policy at the municipal, state and federal 

In 1996 I founded a new production 
company Alter Midia, which absorbs most 
of the time I have left after teaching univer- 
sity classes and raising three children. I am 
currently producing a documentary series 
about a major educational initiative in the 
very poor areas of Sao Paolo. The themes 
for the six-part series, which is funded by 
the Secretary of Education and scheduled 
for completion in December 2004, are 
social inclusion, local identity, local impact, 
community and management, pedagogical 
innovation, and architecture and location. 

Since 19 90, when my Fulbright grant 
ended and I returned from the United 
States, I have often visited the U.S., usually 
in July when I know some of the people 
who are most committed to social change 
will get together at the Alliance for 
Community Media Conference. Thanks to 
the Fulbright, I was able to build many 
solid and good friendships with people who 
are working in the community and/or in 
film /video production. 

Contact Julio Wainer can at 


Yves St. Pierre at CCTV in Cambridge, Massachusetts 

Yves St. Pierre 

From Student to Teacher at CCTV 
In Cambridge, Massachusetts 

Meet Yves St Pierre. He had never used a computer until he 
ifltook a Family Computer Literacy class at Cambridge 
Community Television. In that class, he learned to use 
Microsoft Word, opened his first email account, and began 
using the Internet as a resource for his family That was sever- 
al years ago, and now he's using his computer skills as a 
teacher to help others in his community. 

As a computer CENTRAL intern, St. Pierre is volunteering 
his time to teach computer skills to the Haitian community in 
CCTV's "Tutorial for Non-English Speakers" program. The 
program serves linguistic minorities in Cambridge, including 
Haitian- Kreyol, Spanish, and Portuguese speakers. 

"I feel very happy because I love to teach, and I am learn- 
ing too," says Yves St. Pierre. "So I do the best I can using 
CCTV's resources to uplift my community" 

St. Pierre co -teaches the multilingual program along with 
CCTV Community Technology Programs Manager David 

"This program is so rewarding, it's beyond words," says 
Zermeno. "How can you possibly describe someone's smile 
when they first realize that they really can use a computer 
and the Internet to be part of modern day society? Once they 
learn the basics, we move on to teach media-making skills 
with a lot of support." 

This is one of several CCTV programs that teach students 
how to produce short three-to-five minute Digital Stories. 
Digital storytelling integrates multimedia, including voice, 
still images, and video, and gives people the skills and experi- 
ence to share their personal histories, resulting in one-of-a- 
kind stories which are cablecast on CCTV's channels. 

"Seeing participants become television producers is very 
exciting for them and for us as teachers at CCTV" concludes 
Zermeno. You can access CCTV's library of Digital Stories at Coming soon is a story by 
Marie Rose Chembin, a student from the Haitian community 
who is producing a digital story with help from Yves St. Pierre. 

Susan Fleischmann [susan@cctvcambridge.orgl is executive direc- 
tor of Cambridge Community Television in Cambridge, MA. 


Geetmala TV 

Community programming finds a wider 
audience in St. Paul, Minnesota 

(1 eetmala TV is a program produced by volunteers from the Twin 
ICities South Asian community, produced at Saint Paul 
Neighborhood Network, and broadcast on both cable and local 
public television. The program was organized by Mukhtar Thakur, 
a local engineer who has been producing a community radio pro- 
gram as a volunteer for South Asian people (India, Bangladesh, 
Pakistan, Sri Lanka) in Minneapolis and Saint Paul since 1990, 

In 2001, he recruited volunteers from the community to devel- 
op a program concept, organization, and production team. After 
training at SPNN for several months, they began broadcasting the 
program weekly on Twin Cities Public Television. The program 
features music videos and cultural segments for the community 
in English. 

Geetmala TV is one of a number of community-produced pro- 
grams that are produced at local cable access centers in the Twin 
Cities, and then are distributed to pubiic broadcast markets. 
Programs for Minnesota's Asian American communities (Hmong, 
Vietnamese, Chinese, South Asian), Arab American, and Latino 
communities are all being produced at access centers and then 
are distributed to Twin Cities broadcast audiences through TPT's 
community initiative, The Minnesota Channel. For more informa- 
tion, visit Geetmala TV's at 

Mike Wassenaar [] is exexcutive director of Saint Paul 
Neighborhood Network. 

Geetmala Volunteer Team for Season 2 in 2004: From left [on floor] Tanweer 
Janjua and EjazSaifullah. Sitting from left [on chairs] Nasir Mohamed and Shashi 
Gupta. From left [last row] Mukhtar Thakur, Urbae Jiwa and Sheeba Khan. Not 
Shown: Adil Khan and Fazal Harris. 

Robert Hamilton 

Community Activist Takes 
on the U.S. Army in Ohio 

My name is Robert Hamilton. I live in 
Jefferson Township, a small communi- 
ty in the suburbs of Dayton, Ohio. We 
have about 8,500 registered voters, which 
shows you that we are truly small. This 
story is about how this small community 
(David) along with the help and support 
of local public access television (DATV) 
took on the U.S. Army (Goliath) and won. 

In 2002 the U.S. Army awarded a con- 
tract to Parsons Engineering of Newport, 
Indiana to destroy the deadly VX Nerve 
agent, one of the deadliest in the world. 
Parsons planned to perform the first step, 
called hydrolysis, and the bi-product, 
called VX Hydrolysate, was to be trucked 
into lefferson 
Township for step two 
of the biological treat- 
ment and then dis- 
posal into the munici- 
pal wastewater. This 
was a potential disas- 
ter for the entire 
region, If a tanker was 
ruptured, theVX 
Hydrolysate (with a 
PH of 13) would eat 
up blacktop, concrete, 
or whatever it spilled 
on. If it got into the 
waterways, VX would 
kill everything in its 
path. If there was a 
fire, all bets were off. 

I had just completed my producer 
training at Dayton Access Television 
(DATV), where I learned how to use the 
various cameras, lights, and tripods, etc. 
We were also taught how to edit on the 
AVID. After successfully completing the 
course, I was ready to sign out the equip- 

When 1 joined the fight there was 
already a very well- organized grassroots 
effort in place called The Citizens for The 
Responsible Destruction of Chemical 
Weapons in The Miami Valley. So now the 
question to me was, "how could 1 help?" 

I decided to give the movement a tool 
they could take throughout the region to 
truly sound the alarm. That tool was a 
documentary video that showed the 
tremendous threat that the transportation 
and disposal of VX Hydrolysate posed not 

only to Jefferson Township, but to the 
entire region. 

I had just completed my classes and 
now, the question was, "how was I going 
to produce a video that moved people to 

That's where DATV came to my res- 
cue. With Dale's advice at DATV ("You 
must open your video strong to get their 
attention:"), I opened the video with the 
music of impending doom. Pat and Greg 
asked the important questions ("Does it 
flow? Is it hard-hitting enough? Are you 
making your point?"). 

Steve made sure I could get equip- 
ment when I needed it. Dorothy made 
sure my requests were filled out right and 
that I had what I needed. Melissa sched- 
uled the time for the largest potential 
audience, and last, but certainly not least, 
Rick, my technical 
assistant, took the 
fight on as iftheVX 
was coming to his 

1 could not have 
accomplished this if it 
had not been for all 
their help. As a result 
of an outstanding 
grassroots effort that 
went above and 
beyond the call of duty 
on behalf of DATV, 
David did defeat 
Goliath. The U.S. Army 
rescinded their con- 

The video I produced, Are We Next?, 
won the 2003 Roxie Cole Aw T ard of 
Excellence from DATV This award goes to 
the person "who most exhibits the spirit 
of public access television." In July of 
2003, Are We Next? won first place in the 
Making A Difference category of the pro- 
fessional division at the 2003 Hometown 
Video Festival. 

In conclusion, 1 must say, you can 
determine what your community looks 
like if you are willing to make an award - 
winning effort and form a good relation- 
ship with an organization like DATV. Once 
again, I say thank you to the best public 
access television station in the nation, 

For more information about Robert Hamilton, 
contact DATV Program Director Melissa Mills! . 

Caroline Antone 

Thanks to Access Tucson 
'possibilities seem endless' 

y name is Caroline Felicity Antone. I 
am single, a mother of four and a 
grandmother of four. I am a Native 
American and my tribal affiliation is 
Tohono O'odham, of Traditional 
O'odham Territories in Northern 
Sonora, Mexico and Southern Arizona, 
HS.A. I have been an addiction coun- 
selor since 1999. 

Becoming a producer and a talk 
show host at Access Tucson was a mira- 
cle for me. Producing is fun and excit- 
ing. When I realized what a valuable 
tool I had in cable access television, I 
launched a new project, Breaking the 
Code of Silence. In this series I focus on 
my own neglect, abuse and violence, 
and tell my experiences and the stories 
of others. Domestic violence is some- 
thing I have been passionate about and 
worked my whole life to stop, by shar- 
ing my story every chance I got. Before f 
got into access television, I felt 1 just 
barely made a dent and now the possi- 
bilities seem endless. This is just the 

For more information about Caroline 
Antone and Breaking the Code of Silence, 
contact carofineantone® For 
more information about Access Tucson, 
contact Lisa Horner at 


Ha-Hoa Dang 

Boat People S.OS. Reaching 
Out in Washington, DC 

I s public relations manager for Boat People S.O.S. 
H(BPSOS), Ha-Hoa Dang coordinates a cross- media 
campaign to reach out to Vietnamese youths in the 
Washington, DC area. In collaboration with Vietnamese 
American TV (VATV) and Vietnamese Public Radio, the 
campaign aims to raise awareness around serious issues 
affecting youths— like smoking, violence, and pregnan- 
cy—in hopes that providing a culturally appropriate 
message will lead to prevention. These messages take the 
form of public service announcements, a "man-omtbe- 
street" show called Street Talk, and radio talk shows. 

"Most of the time, we are either seen as 'model 
minorities' who don't have to deal with any problems, or 
we are too proud or ashamed to admit we have them. 
Through this campaign, we are showing the Vietnamese 
community and the mainstream that the problems do 
exist and we're ready to do something about them," says 

Youths play a crucial role in the campaign, serving as 
actors, producers, and writers. Always a kid at heart, Ha- 
Hoa remembers the genuine impact of caring mentors 
who helped her find her own voice. By empowering 
these youths to do the same, she is able to give a little 
back to past and future generations of Vietnamese lead- 
ers. She adds, "They are the best advocates for their 
issues. They have the energy and buy- in of their peers. 
Our role is to cultivate that leadership." 

Boat People S.O.S., a national nonprofit organization 
serving Vietnamese Americans, works on program areas 
including health awareness, youth mentoring, domestic 
violence, and financial literacy. For more information, 
please visit www.bpsos. org. VATV's weekly television pro- 
gram, which is carried on Montgomery Community TV' 
is the only Vietnamese -American television program in 
the DC metropolitan area and has an estimated audience 
of more than 35,000 viewers. 

Noboru Taketa 

Retired Civil Engineer takes Shin Buddhism 
to the People ofHawaVi through Access 

IToboru Taketa is a retired Honolulu City civil engineer who produces a 
11 TV series, Shin Buddhism, for his temple Honpa Honganji. Shin 
Buddhism is the largest Buddhist denomination in Hawai'i. Traditionally 
centered in the State's Japanese immigrant community, Shin Buddhism 
has found a broadening appeal among Hawaii's diverse ethnic population. 

Mr. Take la's grandfather immigrated to Hana, Maui in 1888 to work 
on the sugar plantations there. His father moved to Wailuku, Maui where 
Noboru was raised until he moved to Honolulu, O'ahu to attend the 
University of Hawai'i. 'Oleio Community TV provides him with training, 
production support, and transmission services— but for the most part 
Mr, Taketa produces the program with his own equipment as a dedicated 
volunteer. It's been a longtime hobby for this Popular Science subscriber, 
which began with photography to document his world travels. 

Mr. Taketa, 77, still keeps up with the latest technology. He has a G5 
Final Cut editing suite set up in his home with a long line of predecessors 
still humming! Mr. Taketa started producing programs for the Buddhist 
Studies Center at the University of Hawai'i in the 1980s and over time he 
has developed a statewide distribution network that reaches all six 
Hawaiian islands with cable TV— Kaua'i, O'ahu, Moloka'i, Lana'i, Maui 
and Hawai'i! 

His wife Ayako and daughters Mari Lei and Lori Setsu support his 
efforts enthusiastically and they report that he spends days and nights 
each week editing his video series and supporting the requests of viewers 
and fans. 

Having recorded countless hours of lectures, Mr. Taketa has a very 
refined perspective on Buddhist philosophy. His favorite Buddhist 
teacher? Taitetsu Unno, retired Jill Ker Conway Professor of Religion at 
Smith College and published author (Doubleday etcj. Says Taketa, 
"Among Shin Buddhist scholars, I think he's the most well-known," 
Unno's books include Shin Buddhism: Bits of Rubble Turn Into Gold, and 
River of Fire, River of Water 

Sean McLaughlin [] is president and CEO of Akaku: Maui 
Community TV. 

Noboru Taketa, Shin Buddhism producer, at work in his home editing suite, Liliha, 
O'ahu, Hawaii (photo courtesy Lori Setsu Taketa) 

Bern Nagase 

Preserving Digital Histories 
in Little Tokyo, Los Angeles 

1 s he plugs his camcorder into the eom- 
Hputer's firewire port to begin capturing 
his most recent footage, Bern Nagase 
reviews his notes on a video story about 

"In creating my project, I would say 
the lighting was the most difficult part for 
me/' says Bern, 71, about his five-minute 
project. " Basically .1 shot karaoke 
machines, DVDs, and a karaoke party 
where I was a DJ." 

While Bern's short video, Thanks for 
the Memories, humorously documents his 
passion for singing and hosting karaoke 
events, it also reveals the making of com- 
munity 7 and how Japanese and Japanese 
American seniors come together under a 
common cultural bond. 

Bern is a member of the Digital 
Histories Program, a project of the 
DISKovery Center in Little Tokyo, which 
trains older adult Asian and Pacific 
Islanders on digital video production to 
create personal and community stories in 
and about the Little Tokyo neighborhood 
of Los Angeles. 

In confronting their language and 

generation barriers, Bern and other mem- 
bers of the program develop an important 
quality while producing their videos: over- 
coming their fear of technology. 

"Through the assignments and self- 
interviews, I gradually became accus- 
tomed to the camera, to being in front of 
the camera and through this, my confi- 
dence continued to grow" 

Oftentimes, seniors and older adults 
play a passive role as mere interviewees in 
the production of oral history projects 
and documentaries. Funded in part by the 
Community Technology Foundation of 
California, the Digital Histories Program 

was designed to empower par- 
ticipants with media literacy 
and technical skills to produce 
short videos with their own cre- 
ative license. The participants' 
videos will be apart of a story 
collage made available on the 
Internet, in hopes of preserving 
and educating others of the his- 
tory of the Little Tokyo commu- 

"I used dialogue, music, 
voice over and sound effects 
with the titles, transitions and 
credits at the end/' says Bern. "I 
could not believe I made a 
film. ..I was amazed at my learning 
progress and at how good my video was!" 

The DISKovery Center, a community 
technology center of the Little Tokyo 
Service Center, is collaborating with Visual 
Communications, an Asian American 
media arts organization, to document and 
preserve the stories of the Asian and 
Pacific Islander communities. For more 
information about the DISKovery Center, 
please visit or email 
di$kovery@>ltsc. org. 

Davis Park, Program Director, and Monica 
Peralta, Technology Instructor, The DISKovery 
Center, Los Angeles, 

Veronica Robles 

Orale con Veronica in Massachusetts 

fPhe name of the show Is Orale con Veronica. The word "Orale" is 
1 a popular Mexican expression that means "to encourage, agree, 
hurry and celebrate"— all at once! "Veronica" is Veronica Robles, a 
person in constant motion, who perfectly embodies the expres- 
sion as the show's creator, producer, singer, dancer, teacher and 
self-styled cultural ambassador! Talk about multitasking! 

After first visiting the U.S. when she was 18 (even then she 
was leading a mariachi band and a dance group), Veronica Robles 
has since installed herself in Chelsea, Massachusetts, and has 
become a force of nature in the world of community access tele- 

Orale con Veronica is produced in greater Boston and is seen 
over 16 public access TV channels in Massachusetts. Robles start- 
ed the series as an alternative to the glamorous and ultra- sexy 
shows seen on some commercial Spanish TV channels. 

"I wanted to introduce the best of Latino roots and culture 
and the great values that come from it, and also to educate and 
inform the immigrant community about services and resources 
available to improve their quality of life in this country," Robles 
said recently. Produced primarily in Spanish, the show is a lively 
mix of music, interviews, and dance. According to Robles, she is 
increasing viewers among native English speakers, "1 get email 
messages from people who tell me that although they can t 
understand everything, they enjoy the show because it so enter- 

taining and different from what they see on regular TV" 

Somehow, Veronica has also found time to start a ballet troupe 

whose youthful dancers are often featured on Orale con Veronica. 

The Ballet Folklorico Monte Alhan integrates music, dance, and 

culture to help girls discover their identity and inspire them to 

grow and achieve their dreams. 
Viva Veronica! 

Jeffrey Hansel I [jeffhansell@onebox.coml is executive director of 
Maiden Access TV, a member of the OMR Editorial Board and web edi- 
tor for C/Wff Online. For more information about Veronica Robles visit 
www, veronicarobfes, com/. 


Brotha Clint 

San Francisco Media Advocates changing 
the lives of disenfranchised youth 

Naimah Latif 

Seldom Heard Perspectives on 
The Media Connection in Chicago 

On the surface it looked like a story that was sadly 
routine in Chicago. A young man was shot by a 
police officer in a public housing project. The police 
ruled the shooting justified and said that the officer 
was defending himself. Commercial news media 
accepted the perspective of the police at face value. 
But the long- running CAN TV program The Media 
Connection sent a crew inside the housing complex 
where the shooting took place. Residents there told 
a different story, one that cast the shooting as part of 
a pattern of police abuse toward poor and minority 

"We talk to people who normally aren't asked, 
who may not trust other news media enough to 
talk," says producer Naimah Latif. "We have journal- 
ists who are really involved in the community who 
gain the trust of grassroots people to get that infor- 
mation and share it with our audience." 

Latif started working in public access when 
cable first came to Chicago in the mid-1980s. 
Working for a member of the Chicago City Council, 
Latif helped organize programs about community 
events, AIDS awareness, and the city's redevelop- 
ment plans for the South Side, Soon Latif struck out 
on her own. She assembled a panel of African 
American TV, radio and print journalists, and 
Chicago Black Media Connection was born. 

"Sometimes we address issues affecting our 
community, issues that mainstream shows won't 
touch," Latif says. "Other times we look at the same 
stories they do, but from what you might call an eth- 
nic perspective." Latif soon changed the name of the 
program from Chicago Black Media Connection to 
just The Media Connection. "We wanted to keep 
addressing perspectives not normally heard," she 
says, "but also to broaden it, to bring in journalists 
from other ethnic groups, and to emphasize the 
national relevance of the local stories we cover." 

The Media Connection runs Mondays and Tuesdays at 
noon on Chicago's CAN TV19. Contact Naimah Latif at or 312.849. FILM. 

1 first encountered Brotha Clint back 
in 2001 when I attended CTCNet's 
Leadership Development Institute in 
Oakland, California. Since that time, I 
have had the pleasure of witnessing 
him at work in the field as one of San 
Francisco's most committed, inde- 
pendent youth advocates. 

Early in 2004, he attended a com- 
munity-organizing meeting held at 
Access SF/ Cable Channel 29 for San 
Francisco Media Advocates, a growing 
community coalition at work on the 
city's cable franchise renewal. Always 
energetic about the 
prospects for train- 
ing youth in media, 
Brotha Clint sepa- 
rately approached 
Access SF to collab- 
orate on a unique 
training program 
involving a group of 
four young, African- 
American males 
from the Hunters 
Point/ Bay View 
neighborhood in 
San Francisco. For 
the station, our in- 
house staff provid- 
ed no -cost training 
in iMovie and relat- 
ed digital production using the 
Macintosh platform. The youth team 
was also exposed to the principles of 
field production, the studio television 
environment and a range of media lit- 
eracy tools. 

Executive Director Zane Blaney 
shared with me a powerful anecdote 
that helps to frame the urgency that 
surrounds Brotha Clint's efforts in San 
Francisco's Hunters Point/ Bay View 
neighborhood, Zane says, "According 
to Brotha Clint, one of his youth par- 
ticipants had been offered the chance 
to start selling drugs on the same day 
he was offered the chance to get 
involved with making a video at pub- 
lic access. He chose the latter." 

In a letter to our organization fol- 
lowing the trainings, Brotha Clint 
writes, "...thank you for the support 

of the young men here in San 
Francisco that are attempting to free 
themselves from the cycles of vio- 
lence that have permeated our most 
precious resource, their minds." He 
continues, "My team is now prepared 
to embark upon this fantastic voyage 
called television production, thanks 
to the dedication and professionalism 
ofAccess SF/Cable 29." 

For our part, we go on record and 
return the compliment. The station is 
always grateful for the opportunity to 
collaborate and to demonstrate how 

Brotha Clint [right] and youth training participant. 

public access television is a viable 
resource for social change. Personally 
I commend Brotha Clint for changing 
the lives of disenfranchised, young 
people of color in our City— one 
youth at a time. 

Marc Smolowiti [], 
works at Access San Francisco/Cable 
Channel 29. Contact Brotha Clint at sev- 
en vi 


Philip L Hand 

Cincinnati's 'epitome of a community access producer* 

There are more than 150 producers 
in the Media Bridges family. This is 
the story of one of them. 

The only camera that retired cus- 
todian Phillip L. Hand, 73, of 
Cincinnati ever used before he 
enrolled in classes at Media Bridges 
was a still camera used strictly for 
recreation. Now he is the person 
behind the minicarn taping Word of 
Life Ministries, a weekly one -hour 
church service he produces for. the 
First Baptist Church of Walnut Hills, 
which airs on two local Time Warner 
Cable channels. 

Through Media Bridges Hand was 
able to learn technical skills and field 
and studio production as well as meet 
interesting people, including commu- 
nity and national leaders, which he 
calls "rejuvenating/' During his seven 
years as a volunteer producer for 
Media Bridges, Hand has worn many 
hats including that of cameraman, set 
designer, and lighting director and 
has worked on various types of pro- 
grams. Besides producing the series 
of religious sendees, he has also 
assisted with the taping of govern- 
ment meetings, award shows, con- 
certs, plays, and talk shows. 

Facilities Coordinator Brian 
Losekamp calls him a 'Volunteer 
extraordinaire. He has contributed a 
great deal to the community, helping 
many individuals, nonprofits, govern- 

ment entities, and a church commu- 
nicate effectively and meaningfully 
with residents of the greater 
Cincinnati area via public access tele- 

Education Coordinator Sara 
Mahle calls Hand the epitome of a 
community access producer: "dedi- 
cated, enthusiastic, eager to expand 
his vast knowledge base, and always 
more than willing to assist others in 
any way he can." 

Hand plans to continue producing 
and learning new skills at the media 
center indefinitely and has become 
one of Media Bridges' biggest boost- 
ers; he encourages others to take 
advantage of the free training taught 
by "knowledgeable" instructors. 

Hand has been recognized for his 
work as a volunteer producer by his 
peers. He received a "Lend a Hand 
Award," named after him, at the Blue 
Chip Awards in 2002. He was tickled 
to be honored: "1 really felt like a 
celebrity. . .like I had won an Academy 
Carol Skawinski 

[] is development 
and communications coordinator at 
Media Bridges Cincinnati. For more infor- 
mation, visit www. 




Dalia Tapia 

Positive Role Models from 
Espiritu de Latins in Chicago 

t1 rowing up in Chicago, Dalia Tapia never saw 7 
^positive role models that she could identify with 
on television, "When Latino children don't see 
themselves on TV, they ask themselves, 'Am I not 
good enough?'" she says. "I asked myself that." 

Tapia worked as a librarian and elementary 
school teacher in the near- Southwest Side neigh- 
borhood Little Village, close to her home in Pilsen. 
She saw that her students, particularly the girls, 
suffered from the same problems in cultural repre- 
sentation that she herself had experienced. 

"Television, whether it's in English or Spanish, 
just doesn't reflect my experience as a professional 
Latina woman living in the United States," Tapia 

Tapia had taken video production training at 
CAN TV; and after talking with her students, she 
began to see how 7 she could put: her video skills to 
use. Tapia now produces Latina Splrit/Espiritu de 
Latina, a celebration of the accomplishments of 
Latina women and a showcase of Latino culture in 
Chicago. The show, which is primarily in Spanish, 
features interviews with Latinas about their profes- 
sional experiences, coverage of dance and poetry 
performances, and discussions on issues like 
immigration and political redistricting. 

"Once Latinos in Chicago and the U.S. start 
putting on our own shows and representing our- 
selves, people will start to watch/' she says. "I wish 
I could have watched something like this when I 
was growing up/' 

Contact Dalia at 


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Chantal Matthews 

Pura Vida TV in Atlanta shares 
the Richness of Hispanic Culture 

(losta Rican attorney Chantal Matthews arrived in 
J Atlanta in 1997 to help her sister, Sheylla Bingham, 
former Consul Generai of Costa Rica. Chantal was ini- 
tially trained in video basics at Comcast and later took 
various classes on digital camera and editing at 
Atlanta's People TV In October 2001, just a few weeks 
after 9/11, she produced her first access show, a live, 
bilingual, hometown meeting called America Under 
Attack: A Latin Perspective. Her guests included repre- 
sentatives from the Georgia Hispanic Chamber of 
Commerce and the Latin American Association to offer 
the business perspective; the Consul General of Mexico; 
the Consul of Spain; and the Consul of Columbia to 
offer an international view, and psychologists and 
physicians to offer spiritual and emotional support. 

Chantal then launched a weekly bilingual show, 
Pura Vida TV, which features a magazine format with 
segments on travel, news, health, and other topics. The 
show has featured well-known Latinos such as Luis 
Enrique, Bienvenidos, and Julio Savala, and covers 
community issues such as immigration, health, and 
social events. Her production crew includes 
Christopher Matthews, Shirley Cordero, Sam Stone and 
many volunteers. Pura Vida 7Vruns on People TV in 
Atlanta on Channel 24 every Friday at 4:30 p.m. 

Chantal, who is Costa Rica's 1990 National Fencing 
Champion, says that there are approximately 400,000 
Hispanics in Georgia, including around 40,000 Costa 
Ricans. "It has been an honor and a pleasure helping my 
community through Pura Vida TV" she says, "and I look 
forward to continuing to improve the quality of life for 
Hispanics in the U.S., while giving Americans the oppor- 
tunity to learn more about the richness of our culture," 

Contact Chantal at Her website is 

Tim Rooney (left) and Lury Sato (right) in her North Portland home after being inter- 
viewed for the Oregon Japanese American oral history project. After her father was 
arrested by the FBI on December 7, 1941, Lury and her family were incarcerated in the 
Portland Livestock Exposition Center, then transferred to the Minidoka internment 
camp in Idaho. Photo of Lury Sato by Joni Shimabukuro. 

Tim Rooney and Lury Sato 

Oral Histories Reveal Strength and Courage 
of Japanese- Americans in Portland, Oregon 

In 1998, the Oregon Nikkei Legacy Center was formed in Portland, 
Oregon, dedicated to the gathering and preservation of the history of 
Japanese Americans in Oregon. Very early in its history, it was decided 
that, rather than gathering oral histories on audio cassettes, the Legacy 
Center would focus on videotaped oral histories. I was volunteered. Note 
the passive tense. 

With no experience in video, I signed up for classes at Portland Cable 
Access, then immediately began gathering oral histories. The first subjects 
were 22 Oregon veterans of the 442nd Regimental Combat Team, the all- 
Japanese American fighting outfit that became the most decorated mili- 
tary unit in American military history. 

Two summers of interviews followed in Hood River, Oregon, a hotbed 
of anti-Japanese sentiment during the war years. The interviews, conduct- 
ed by acclaimed oral historian Professor Linda Tamura, resulted in War 
Stories, a public reading featuring four actors, focusing on the wartime 
experiences of these vets, and their return after the war. 

Since early in 2003, thanks to funding by the Spirit Mountain 
Community Fund and Oregon Cultural Trust, the project has been greatly 
expanded. With nearly 300 hours of interviews completed and many more 
scheduled, the raw material is being assembled into documentaries for 
use in schools, museums, and historical societies. 

We have interviewed immigrants as old as 102, American-born 
Japanese stranded in Japan when the war broke out, MIS translators who 
spent the war in the Pacific campaign, and many veterans and camp 
internees. And through all of the interviews runs a common thread: that 
the strength and courage of these people, perseveri ng through a very dark 
period of American history, should serve as an example to us all. That free- 
dom and liberty must always be guarded. And that, through telling their 
stories, these people have helped to ensure that the hysteria and racism 
that led to these events will never be repeated. 

Tim Rooney [] teaches video production and nonlinear editing 
at Portland Community Media in Portland, Oregon. Besides the oral history pro- 
gram, he works on many music productions, and documents the events of 
Portland's Japanese American community. 


You want to impact your 
community. So do we. 

Impacting your community is what 
public access media is all about. At 
SAMHSA*, we too want to impact 
every community in the country. 

Like you, we realize alcohol- and 
drug-use disorders are serious health 
issues that touch each community. In 
fact, many of your viewers know first- 
hand or through close relationships 
just how difficult it can be to overcome 

SAMHSA's The Road to Recovery 

programs communicate a message of 
hope. They inform, educate, and touch 
lives. And you're invited to schedule 
them into your programming at no 
charge when you subscribe to the series. 

These free 1-hour programs feature 
experts on addiction and treatment, 
interviews with caring providers, and 
inspirational stories from people in 
recovery. They show how treatment 

is effective and recovery is possible. 
Available in VHS or DVD, they are in 
the public domain and use is unlimited. 

The Road to Recovery programs 
were developed to help communicate 
SAMHSA' s vision of "A Life in the 
Community for Everyone." 

Use them now to impact your 

Subscribe by e-mail:, 
or phone: 240-747-4816. 

Free programming 
about alcohol and drug 
addiction treatment 

*The Substance Abuse and Mental Health 
Services Administration is an agency of the U.S. 
Department of Health and Human Services. 

Substance Abuse and Merita! Health Services Administration 

Cambridge's CCTV Makes a Difference 

Luz Paola Perez Acosta 
and D'Landy Galiza Ramirez 

y name is Luz Paola Perez Acosta and my 
sister's name is D' Landry. We have a new 
TV show in Spanish for kids at CCTV It's 
called Un Poco De Todo (A Little Bit of 
Everything). The show runs Monday after- 
noons. We talk about music, pop culture, 
what's happening in the news, youth and 
Hi spanic issues, and everything that young 
people love to talk about. When I came to 
CCTV the first thing I did was to learn how 
to use the computer. I feel so excited 
because it's a big change to go from the 
computer lab to having a talk show, I never 
thought [ could be on TV. Even though I 
came to use computer CENTRAL, I didn't 
know that I also had the opportunity to have 
my own show. At first I was really nervous 
but now I think it's exciting. I also think that 
this television experience is going to benefit 
my future. Who knows — I never thought it 

Dominique Jean Baptiste 

y name is Dominique Jean Baptiste. I am 
from Haiti. I have three sisters and three 
brothers. My father died two years ago and 
my family had to leave our home and every- 
thing behind in a hurry because the political 
system in my country is very difficult right 
now. The country is very troubled. The peo- 
ple no longer have faith in president lean 
Bertrand Aristide. There are economic prob- 
lems, and people don't have work. Even the 
food in Haiti is expensive. Because of crime, 
many people have been kilied in the streets. 
That is why I don't want Aristide for presi- 
dent. But now that he is no longer in power 
and living in Africa, I don't know what is 
going to happen with Haiti, 

I am in the U.S. because I want a safe 
place to finish my schooling and prepare my 
life for the future. I want be a nurse so that 
people won't die, and I can help them live 

was possible to have a television show, but 
now I see it's possible because I'm already 
doing what I never would have imagined 
before. So I'm really excited about it because 
if I get a job in television I'm going to be bet- 
ter prepared for it. 

My name is D'Landy Galiza Ramirez. My 
sister and I love our show on CCTV The 
show allows us to talk about school, friends, 
fashion, and issues related to our Santo 
Domingo culture and heritage. The televi- 
sion world always fascinated me but I never 
thought I would have the courage to attempt 
having my own TV show. It's actually very 
difficult for me because I'm shy, and I was 
embarrassed at first, But it's incredible how 
many people watch you. The kids at school 
keep coming up to me and saying that they 
saw me on TV I was worried what they 
would think, so I was glad when they were 
all excited and congratulated me. They even 
want to come to CCTV to be on my show. 

But my mom is the most excited of 
everyone. She called all of our relatives in 
Santo Domingo and told them that my sister 
and I had a television show. She's very proud 
now because she has a lot of hope for our 
future. 1 think this experience is definitely 
helping me learn more about television and 
communication. So I guess I have a lot of 
hope too. I just want to thank David and 
CCTV because this couldn't have been possi- 
ble without them. 

happy lives. I come to CCTV's "Tutorial for 
Non- English Speakers" every 7 week to learn 
English and about technology. I want to be a 
good professional woman. The tutorial helps 
me learn more English and computers, 
which are important for my future. As a 
nurse, I want to go back to Haiti to help my 
family with the money from my job. Thank 
you CCTV. 

Jose Mendez and Lissette Yanes on the set 
of Casi en Vivo, their taped anti-smoking 
"news" program. 

Latino Youth Peer 
Leadership Program 

Somerville, Massachusetts 

Somerville Community Access 
Television (SCAT) and The 
Community Action Agency of 
Somerville's (CAAS) Latino Youth 
Peer Leadership Program teamed up 
to create anti-smoking videos to 
counter the mass media messages 
that present smoking as cool. The 
three-year program was funded by a 
grant from the American Legacy 
Foundation. Its goal was to help the 
teens think critically about media 
content by learning the processes 
used in creating media. They learned 
how r the person creating the message 
could influence the attitudes and 
behaviors of the viewers. 

Over the three years of the pro- 
gram, the five Latino teens created 
several video projects and produced 
and hosted a weekly, live talk show 
from the SCAT "Hot Set" called Tele 

The project for 2004 is a parody 
of a newscast titled Casi en Vivo 
(Almost Live). The stories in the 
newscast are related to the hazards 
of smoking cigarettes. Am Manrique, 
the CAAS Latino Youth Coordinator 
works closely with the youth on this 
project. He said, "Kids like technolo- 
gy and learning how to use the 
equipment, but the big thing is the 
message. Using parody helps to 
make the project interesting for the 
youth. The teens making the video 
get a view into how media profes- 
sionals work to create a message/' 

The newscast is in Spanish with 
English subtitles. For more informa- 
tion, contact 



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